Class action lawsuit against BMW over i3 vehicles

A national class action lawsuit has been filed against BMW North America, LLC for alleged defects in the BMW i3 vehicles. The case Edo Tsoar v. BMW North America, LLC (Case No. 2:16-cv-03386) was filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by MLG Automotive Law .

The lawsuit centers around the BMW i3 “Range Extender” feature. This option, called REx, outfits the vehicle with a two-cylinder gasoline engine producing 34 horsepower that switches on when the battery charge depletes to five percent, giving the vehicle another 70 miles of range. BMW claims that the Range Extender “doubles your electric driving range” from the vehicle’s standard 81-mile range.

The lawsuit alleges that in practice, however, when the gasoline engine kicks in, it doesn’t produce enough power to prevent a dramatic decrease in the vehicle’s performance. As alleged, if the car is under any kind of significant load (such as going up a hill, or loaded with passengers), the speed of the car will dramatically decrease as the battery charge diminishes. The lawsuit alleges that this can result in the car slowing to speeds of 45 miles per hour on the freeway, without warning.

“The BMW i3 Range Extender feature is a dangerous instrumentality to the owners of the vehicles and to other motorists on the road,” said Jonathan Michaels, founding member of MLG Automotive Law. “Having a sudden and unexpected loss of power in a motor vehicle can result in a catastrophic situation for all those on the road. These cars are dangerous and should not be driven.”

The lawsuit seeks to have the vehicles redesigned and repaired at BMW’s expense, and to halt the sale of all i3 vehicles until repairs can be made. The claim also seeks compensation for all the owners of the vehicles, who were not told of the serious safety defect. – PRNewswire

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