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BMW issues global plug-in hybrid recall due to fire hazard posed when charging

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BMW is launching a global recall of 26,900 new plug-in hybrid vehicles due to a fire hazard posed when its batteries are fully charged.

The recall involves several models manufactured in calendar year 2020, including the X1, X2, X3 and X5 hybrid SUVs, as well as the 3, 5 and 7 series hybrid versions. The Active Tourer, i8 and Mini Countryman PHEV from Series 2 are also affected if they are assembled since January 2020.

The automaker claims that less than a third of the affected vehicles are in the hands of customers, the rest being on dealer lots; and claims most are in Europe, although the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 4,509 cars are affected in America.

The problem has been attributed to contaminants entering the battery during production, which could lead to a short circuit when fully charged. NHTSA names Samsung as battery supplier, although BMW does not confirm this. The automaker said it had not received any reports of injuries or accidents related to the problem, but was aware of a “thermal event”.

Earlier this week, Ford pushed back plans to launch its Escape Hybrid in the United States after its European sibling Kuga suffered a similar recall for a fire hazard. The batteries for the Kuga are made by Samsung.

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