BMW's IX3 motor cause transmission issue

As a global model BMW’s IX3 buyer, I wonder if the occurrence rate of transmission failures leading to power interruption is as high as it is in China. Last month, while driving normally, my vehicle alerted me and lost power, automatically shifting to N gear, and I couldn’t restart the car. After searching online, I found that in China, this issue occurs at an alarming rate of almost 1 in 1000 (roughly based on statistics from car enthusiast groups and various consumer rights websites). Moreover, this problem persists from the 2021 model to the latest June 2023 delivery of I3/IX3. BMW has never provided a clear explanation for the common cause of this issue or a long-term resolution plan.

The solution I received was to dismantle the motor and clean the carbon brush??? my car has only driven 7000 km and now it needs the motor to be dismantled? And what’s the logic behind cleaning the carbon brush? BMW’s feedback is that cleaning is required based on the diagnostic results, but neither BMW nor the service center would provide a written guarantee that the same problem won’t happen again. So, am I supposed to drive another 7000 kilometers and then experience a breakdown at a random location, wait for a tow truck, and have my motor dismantled again for carbon brush cleaning?

Isn’t this a design flaw in BMW’s “Fifth-Generation eDrive Electric Motors”? And yet, this flawed and highly probable problematic product continues to be used.

I guess that this is part of the tradition of European-engineered cars having a lower reliability rate, needing unusual and sometimes more complex repairs, and–overall–being more of a headache for owners as their vehicles age.

So, I guess it’s good (??) to see that BMW is maintaining tradition with their newer EVs. :wink:

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That’s up to you. The alternative is to get it fixed this time and then sell or trade the car for something without this limitation…

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MY2021 is the first production year. Is your Bimmer still under warranty? It seems like it should be both for mileage and age. This should be covered by the power train warranty.

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My theory is there’s something contaminating the electric motor’s brushes. Check for oil leaks in that area. Another idea, since OP claims this problem seems to be worse in China, if in area with high air pollution, that may be what’s contaminating the brush surfaces.

Note: the brushes provide a conductive path for electricity to move from the stationary part of the motor to the rotating part. Necessary for motor to work. Called “brushes” b/c they sort of brush along the rotating part as it rotates. Some EV’s are said to use a brush-less motor design, but apparently not this one.

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These vehicles leak oil?

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Actually, in my experience with relatively low voltage electric motors cleaning the brushes is required because graphite or carbon worn off the brush forms a powder that lifts the brush off the commutator or rotor and makes for a poor electrical connection. Just removing the brushes and blowing air or contact cleaner will restore a dead motor.

These are high voltage motors. Only the dealer should be working on this near-new BMW.


The original poster asked the question, George questioned what could have contaminated the brushes.

Any other theories why this brush problem – according to OP – occurs at a higher rate in China?

The repair plan ordered by BMW is to remove the carbon brush powder with a high-pressure spray gun clean the connector. Guess other EVs with brushless motors should not encounter those problems.