Drivetrain – First break-down

Our i3 was one of the first delivered and it is now five years ago the first post about the new shiny revolution was published on this web site. The i3 has served us well and there has not been any major issues. Until now.When trying to leave for work a morning last week, the only sign of life the i3 wanted to give was “Drivetrain. Stop carefully”. The BMW engineers are not generous with information. Imagine a computer that had a similar error message – it would not be acceptable. Also, the part “stop carefully” is interesting when the car is just started. The light was red and the car refused to go anywhere. It was not even possible to put in a gear.

As always, first some advice was searched from i3 blog publishers, forum writers, and the like. Possibly the error could stem from condensation, so I decided to use the Connected app to schedule a departure four hours later with preconditioning turned on. This way I was sure it would also warm up the battery and maybe condensation would go away. No avail. Same error message.

After discussing with the BMW workshop, it was clear that tow truck was the only option. First a large tow truck came but it was too big to manoeuvre into the villa driveway. A couple of hours later there were two tow trucks outside – one small to pull the i3 into the larger street and a large that could lift it to a flatbed. Here the disadvantage of a construction that prohibits the i3 from being towed after another car becomes very apparent. Had it been a normal car I could have towed it myself to the workshop but with the i3 it requires large and expensive equipment. That said, I believe everything is covered by BMW Mobile Care.

The i3 has now been at the workshop for more than a week. Despite several calls there has not yet been any analysis from BMW what caused the error nor any plans how to fix it. I keep you updated.

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8 thoughts on “Drivetrain – First break-down

  1. Very interesting and thanks for sharing! Our i3 is only 2 years old and has approx 30 000 km on the clock, no such bad experiences so far.. May I ask how many km’s you had when the drivetrain broke?

  2. Is your car a Bev or Rex? Seems to be more problems with the Rex models but then there are more of them about. Also, were are you located? I’m in the UK.

    1. It is a BEV in Sweden. One of the arguments for choosing the BEV was that it is simple and very few things that need service and that can break. We will see if that analysis was correct.

  3. Sorry to hear.
    Please keep us posted on the progress.
    We have 105 000km on our 16 and it still run ok. The only issue is that the range is 145 km during summer and 115 when temperature is below 7 C.

  4. I have a 2014 i3 REX. 52,000 miles
    I have had that error a 3 times in the 1st 3 years, towed it in & it was fixed.
    BUT, that was under warranty.
    Real curious to see they find, as mine went out of warranty 2 months ago.
    I’m in the US – Texas.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Mark. Do you know what they “fixed”?
      If it happened again it sounds like it was only temporary.

      Since our error did not happen when driving, but when the car was parked, it sounds like a pure electric error. The information I read that it could be related to condensation made sense. The days just before it happened were very wet in Sweden with fog, drizzling rain and only a few degrees on the plus side (Celsius).

      Must admit I fear they put the car in a warm garage, do same checks, think all is ok, and say they “fixed” it.

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