— A BMW i3 class action lawsuit alleges 2015-2018 BMW i3, i3s and i3 REx vehicles can't come close to advertised driving ranges in cold weather.
According to the plaintiff, some i3 models were powered solely by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, while the i3 REx (Range Extender) had a battery and a small gasoline engine to extend the range of the vehicle.
"This action arises from the uniform false representations disseminated by the Defendants that materially overstate the range of the Class Vehicles whether in battery only mode or in gasoline engine range extender mode in cold weather. Class Vehicles cannot achieve the driving range promised in Defendants’ advertising and promotional materials when operated in cold weather conditions." — BMW i3 lawsuit
Advertising for the BMW i3 claimed the mileage range for an i3 running on the electric motor only was 81 miles, but a BMW i3 REx equipped with a gasoline engine had a range of 150 miles.
Those may be the advertised ranges, but the class action lawsuit says the i3 vehicles cannot get close to those ranges when traveling in cold weather.
BMW i3 Class Action Lawsuit: Decreased Range
In October 2018, the plaintiff purchased a used 2015 BMW i3 REx from a dealer in New Jersey. During real-world use in cold weather, the BMW displays a battery range of only 43 miles when fully charged. The range drops to 33 miles after driving about 5 miles.
The BMW technician allegedly said, “the cold weather just puts a hurtin’ on these batteries” and if the i3 had been stored outside in 15-20 degree weather, the 50 mile electric range indicated on the instrument panel would “drop rapidly from 50 [miles] down to almost nothing quickly.”
The plaintiff says the window sticker said the mileage range for his vehicle operating solely on the electric motor was 72 miles. However, he alleges he was only able to obtain a range of 39 miles on a fully charged battery in the winter months.
And the lawsuit says none of BMW's advertisements admit what cold weather does to the battery range.
The BMW i3 class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey: Brian Hurst, v. BMW of North America, LLC, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., and Thomas P. Sobran, P.C.