BMW ActiveE Safety Recall For Possible Power Steering Failure

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2012 BMW ActiveE  -  Driven in Monterey, February 2012

2012 BMW ActiveE - Driven in Monterey, February 2012

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BMW is recalling its ActiveE electric cars to replace a potentially faulty component whose failure could leave drivers without power steering.

According to the text of the recall, "variations in electrical current" may occur within the electric power steering, leading to a sudden loss of the power assistance within the steering system.

That would abruptly increase the effort required to steer the car--in effect, the driver would be faced with unassisted steering in a 4,000-pound car--which could increase the risk of an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the recall early this morning.

BMW will notify ActiveE lessees of the problem and the recall within a few days.

Those lessees can then schedule an appointment with their local ActiveE-certified dealer to have the steering-assistance module replaced.

It's unclear whether the necessary part(s) are already in stock at dealers or whether they'll have to be provided.

The recall did not specify the individual components affected, referring only to the "steering-assistance module" as a whole.

All such safety recall work is provided by BMW free of charge.

BMW delivered the first ActiveE in January to a U.S. driver. Ultimately, it plans to lease 700 of the cars in a few regions of the country for a two-year test program.

The recall also applies to certain models of the 2012 BMW Z4 sports car, from which the ActiveE's electric power steering system was presumably taken.

ActiveE lessees and Z4 owners can contact the BMW Customer Relations center at 800-525-7417.

Those drivers can also contact the NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline, which can be reached at 888-327-4236.

A summary description of the recall (NHTSA campaign number 12V302000) can be found on the website.


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Comments (8)
  1. Beware electronauts beware

  2. I've lost power steering before in a regular car. It's a surprise but one can usually survive. At higher speeds it matters less.

  3. I've owned a car without power steering before, it was indeed survivable. (Of course it didn't weight 4000 lbs).

  4. **weigh**

  5. Side note, Renault and Better Place are in the midst of a silent upgrade as every owner I know has had their car taken away for a day or two. It's to replace a "power card" (one translation I've heard). All of us get a replacement EV delivered by transporter so it's pretty hard to get upset. Would like to know if this extends to Fluence Z.E. in Europe too.

  6. They probably didn't want to call it a recall so they could avoid a negative media story, that was a smart move.

  7. Since the recall also affects non-electric BMW vehicles, we can assume it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the
    Active E happens to be all (as opposed to being 95%) electric.
    Most cars nowadays are mostly electrically powered, except for the drive train and part of the AC system.

  8. Eh, it's just an ordinary recall, I had a recall on my BMW not long after I bought it. Apparently the float in the gas tank that measures the level of gasoline in the tank could have become stuck to the side of the tank causing a false reading on the fuel gauge. Well to get to the tank they had to remove my back seats and open a small door in the tank, the worst part of the whole thing was my new car smelled like gasoline when I got it back, I was really mad. I thought to my self "this wouldn't have happend in an electric car" but luckily one of my fist jobs was caring for and cleaning cars in a car museum so I was able to get the new car smell back. Recalls are routine so there is no need to worry just get it done.

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