BMW recalls plug-in hybrids for fire concerns, says not to charge them

The recall documents also warn against using Sport mode or the shift paddles.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read
2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e
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2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e

You see those shift paddles behind the steering wheel? Yeah, you're going to have to ignore those for a while.


If you own a new plug-in hybrid or Mini, you're going to want to pay attention to this recall, since some very odd actions are required on the driver's part.

BMW has issued a recall for 4,509 vehicles in the US, and 26,900 vehicles globally. All the models affected are plug-in hybrids , which use larger batteries to permit a couple dozen miles' worth of all-electric propulsion at a time. Here's the full list of affected vehicles:

  • 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e
  • 2021 BMW 745Le xDrive
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530e, 530e xDrive, 530e iPerformance
  • 2020-2021 Mini Cooper Countryman All4 SE
  • 2020-2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e
  • 2021 BMW 330e, 330e xDrive
  • 2020 BMW i8

The issue stems from the Samsung battery used in the affected PHEV models. According to the recall documents, debris may have entered the battery cells during production, which can cause a short circuit. In "rare cases," according to BMW, one of these short circuits could spark a fire.

The 2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e has a big battery pack for improved efficiency

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BMW first discovered the issue in August, when it was told of a fire involving an X5. Between then and mid-September, BMW found three more incidents along the same lines. After doing more digging, the automaker discovered the root cause.

Trouble is, BMW doesn't have a fix in place yet, which is where the aforementioned odd actions come into play. Until the automaker has a remedy ready to go, BMW is suggesting that drivers not charge their vehicles, nor should they use Sport mode, Manual mode or the shift paddles. A BMW spokesperson confirmed that these suggestions are due to how and when the battery charges.

As with all recalls, US owners will receive a notification via first-class mail informing them of the recall. Dealers should have received their notifications already, according to NHTSA's recall documents, while owners should expect to see theirs arrive toward the end of November.