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BMW updates 90% of EVs sold in the US over power software bug

BMW i4, i7 and iX drivers need a fix

BMW is starting off 2023 with a recall of 90 percent of the EVs it sold in the United States in 2022 thanks to battery software that could cause loss of power while driving.

According to BMW's recall notice [PDF], certain model year 2022 and 2023 BMW iX, i4 and i7 vehicles in the US have a bug in their battery electronics control unit (ECU) code that could affect its ability to monitor battery charging. As a result, says BMW, there could be "a temporary loss of power while driving, or stalling." A warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said such interruptions increase the risk of a crash. 

"The recall … involves 14,086 vehicles which were sold in the US last year," a BMW spokesperson told The Register. 

In its full year sales results released last week, BMW said it sold 15,584 electric cars in the US, all of which were i4 and i7 sedans or iX SUVs, the three vehicles included in the recall. 

BMW said it discovered the issue through its own quality control procedures, and there's no mention of related accidents in the recall notice, which is typically included in recall notices from auto manufacturers and the NHTSA. 

More EVs, more problems

Thankfully drivers won't have to go back to the dealerships for the fix - it's a wireless update - but EVs had been getting a lot of attention of late, as some drivers fear an actual blue screen of death.

In 2022 alone, Tesla has initiated several recalls, including issuing a software update for some 40,000 vehicles programmed to lose power steering due to bad calibration data. Ford also had to recall its Mustang Mach-E over a faulty wheel shaft that could cause the vehicle to be unable to remain in park.

Toyota and Subaru recalled several thousand vehicles in June because they were equipped with self-loosening hub bolts, while Rivian was forced to recall some 80 percent of its entire fleet in October over a faulty steering wheel fastener.

BMW wasn't exempt from the 2022 EV recall blast either, as it recalled several BMW i4 and iX vehicles built within a nine-month period due to faulty battery cell manufacturing that posed a fire risk. Per Motortrend, only 83 vehicles were affected.

This time around, it's a lot more than just a few odd bad battery cells - it's nearly every electric car BMW has sold to US drivers since its latest line of i-Series vehicles showed up on roads.

"In March 2022, the fully electric BMW iX Sports Activity Vehicle and BMW i4 Gran Coupe began arriving at US dealerships … the BMW i7 Sedan went on sale in late November," BMW said in its year end sales report. Given the recall affects BMW i-Series vehicles sold in the US in 2022, it's safe for BMW EV owners to assume they'll need to take action. 

BMW said affected vehicles are still safe to drive and charge, and the software update needed to fix the issue is available over-the-air now.

Drivers who don't keep up with vehicle maintenance, which now includes software updates, will be informed of the remedy in letters set to be mailed out in early February. ®

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