BMW of North America is recalling 3,431 i4 and iX electric vehicles due to the potential failure of its pedestrian warning noisemaker.
In a recall notice on the NHTSA website, BMW said, “During vehicle start-up, the artificial sound generator control unit may experience a fault and fail to generate the external pedestrian warning sound.”
Federal regulations require both hybrid and electric vehicles to emit sound through an artificial noisemaker when traveling at lower speeds to protect pedestrians. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 141, known as “Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles,” was passed on October 1, 2018, and required cars fitting that description to be equipped with noisemakers by September 1, 2020.
The noisemakers ensure pedestrian safety that the NTHSA predicted would save 2,400 people from injuries and prevent as much as $320 million in damages.
The recall affected BMW vehicles manufactured between November 11, 2021, and December 22, 2022.
BMW owners are allowed to continue driving their vehicles but are asked to contact authorized dealers to schedule appointments after being contacted by the company. Dealers will fix the recall through artificial sound generator software, which dealers will update themselves.
Most became aware of the requirement of the pedestrian noisemaker through Tesla’s implementation of an external speaker to comply with FMVSS 141. Tesla pushed for custom noises to be played through the speaker, as federal regulators did not intially have specific requirements for the sounds played.
However, the NHTSA said in 2022 that it “did not favor the proposal to allow hybrid and electric vehicles to have an unlimited number of different pedestrian alert sounds.”
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