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BMW Recalls Half its ActiveEs

On January 17, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled half of the 700 lease-only BMW ActiveE electric cars on American roads, citing a bad seal around the drivetrain housing that can cause grease to leak, prematurely wear the gear shaft that transfers power from the motor to the reduction gear transmission. The possible consequence is “a sudden loss of vehicle propulsion,” increasing the risk of a crash.

The ActiveE was also recalled last summer for a fault that left it vulnerable to power steering failure. Owners appear patient, even though some have had repeat issues. The recalls don’t involve problems with batteries (much in the news with the Boeing Dreamliner failures), but that doesn’t mean that the ActiveE packs have been trouble-free.

BMW notes the issues, and spokesman Dave Buchko comments, “The field trial experience of the ActiveE is an integral part of the development of the drivetrain for the iBrand vehicles. We regret the inconvenience to customers who have joined us on this journey.” The ActiveE shares much of its drivetrain with the i3 “megacity” vehicle, which rolls out late this year.


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