BMW REx Gets Software Update Following Consumer Reports Testing

Yesterday BMW’s i3 received a software update to fix an issue regarding the battery’s reserve power level.

The action followed a review by Consumer Reports which – despite earning one of CR’s highest scores among electric cars – was found to have a serious glitch with the range-extended version during road testing prompting BMW to respond.

The update will allow new data on the info screen. The i3 comes in all-electric and range-extended versions, and both are equipped with an electric motor that produces 170 horsepower (127 kw) along with a 22 kwh battery pack. The optional two cylinder 34 hp (25-kw) range extender generates electricity when battery levels deplete, but is not connected to the wheels so it cannot drive the car directly.

The update will allow new data on the info screen. The i3 comes in all-electric and range-extended versions, and both are equipped with an electric motor that produces 170 horsepower (127 kw) along with a 22 kwh battery pack.

The two-cylinder 34 horsepower (25-kw) range extender generates electricity when battery levels deplete. It starts when the battery is low, and in addition to the regenerated energy from coasting and braking it helps to keep levels stable at 6 percent. However in a situation where sustained power is needed, like climbing hills for instance, an issue was discovered.

In Consumer Reports’ testing, a driver pulled out to pass a slower vehicle after a lengthy hill climb when the reserve battery ran out, cutting all the power to the vehicle stranding him in the oncoming traffic lane.

According to Consumer Reports, it contacted BMW and the automaker promised a solution come springtime. It reported this is now done and BMW followed up with information confirming as much.

The automaker reports a State of Charge gauge through the instrument cluster for better range management, power reduction possible message at 2 percent State of Charge on the instrument cluster (REx model only), and charger unlock feature at 100 percent to allow hospitality charging (charger sharing).

“The Hill Climb Assist feature remains in testing and will not yet be released. Stay tuned for updates,” says BMW.

Consumer Reports