Owners claim BMW i3 cars equipped with Range Extenders lose the ability to accelerate.

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BMW i3 Range Extender Lawsuit Certified in California
Owners claim BMW i3 cars equipped with Range Extenders lose the ability to accelerate.

— A BMW i3 Range Extender lawsuit was whittled down by a federal judge but will continue for certain California car owners and lessees.

The plaintiffs filed the i3 Range Extender (REx) lawsuit alleging the cars have design defects which cause the vehicles to suddenly slow down when the charge of the batteries drops below certain levels.

The class action lawsuit alleges BMW concealed defects in 2014-2016 i3 REx vehicles which make driving the cars dangerous.

The i3 Range Extender lawsuit says problems occur when the cars switch from battery power to the gasoline-powered Range Extenders. According to BMW, the Range Extender switches on automatically when the battery level reaches 6.5 percent.

And according to the plaintiffs, the i3 Range Extender allegedly should double the range to 150 miles from about 80 miles due to a 650cc gasoline engine. That engine is used to power a generator to power the battery.

The lawsuit alleges an i3 REx customer will pay nearly $4,000 more for the Range Extender feature, all allegedly for the car to enter limp mode while driving. Additionally, some drivers report losing the brake lights when the cars suddenly enter limp mode.

The plaintiffs claim a driver and passengers are at risk of crashes and injuries because once the battery reaches 6% or less of a charge, the cars are unable to accelerate while driving.

Plaintiffs alleged claims for breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, consumer protection and fraudulent concealment under California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and federal law.

BMW Files Motion to Dismiss the BMW i3 Lawsuit

BMW filed a motion to dismiss the Range Extender lawsuit and the judge dismissed the majority of the claims.

Specifically, the judge ruled:

"(1) Plaintiffs failed to establish that California law could be uniformly applied to all putative class members and all Class Cars; (2) Plaintiffs failed to engage in any analysis as to whether the class should be certified under the other states’ laws; and (3) Individual issues predominated over Plaintiffs’ consumer protection and fraudulent concealment claims under California law."

However, Judge Terry Hatter, Jr., ruled class action certification was fine for Song-Beverly claims concerning 2014-2016 BMW i3 REx cars purchased or leased in California. The judge also gave the green light to a Magnuson-Moss claim for cars acquired in California.

The plaintiffs who purchased their i3 Range Extender cars in California filed for class certification for their Song-Beverly and Magnuson-Moss claims.

However, six days after the plaintiffs filed their renewed motion for class certification, the Ninth Circuit ruled that a Magnuson-Moss class claim may not be certified with less than 100 putative class members.

This caused the California plaintiffs to withdraw their request to certify their Magnuson-Moss claim because there are less than 100 putative class members.

"In the end, the judge ruled the lawsuit will continue for, 'All entities, that do not have more than five motor vehicles registered in California, and all individuals who purchased or leased a new model year 2014, 2015 or 2016 BMW i3 REx electric car equipped with the “Range Extender” option from an authorized BMW dealer in California on or before May 16, 2016.'"

The BMW i3 Range Extender lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Braverman, et al., v. BMW of North America, LLC, et al.

The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, MLG Automotive Law, and the Margarian Law Firm.


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