‘BMW is refusing to fix my £62k electric car that takes nine hours to drive up North’

Has a company treated you unfairly? Our Consumer Champion is available to help. For how to contact her click here.  

Dear Katie,

Last year I decided it was time to get an electric car, so I traded in my BMW X5 diesel for a BMW iX3.

I wish I hadn’t. The battery is supposed to have a range of 285 miles but it performs so poorly on occasions that it is only able to show a maximum range of 145 miles.

We live down south and have family in the north of England, but the car won’t get us there in one stop. It took us nine hours each way over Christmas. We have three children and it was a nightmare. The car cost £62,000 and I really expected better. We also have a Peugeot electric car, which was less than half of what the iX3 cost. It performs brilliantly.

I have tried and tried to resolve the issues with the iX3 by speaking to the dealership, BMW and BMW Financial Services, but I have never in my life experienced such a dismissive attitude. We first raised the issues with the car seven days after purchase, and with the benefit of hindsight, I should have rejected the car there and then.

I want to get rid of it, but the dealership is only offering me £50,000. Then it will sell it on for something like a £7,000 profit the next day, which seems grossly unfair. The latest thing I’ve been asked to do is jot down the details of every journey I make in a notebook, which is taking up all my time. My wife is complaining this is not what she signed up for.

MD, Essex

Dear Reader,

BMW’s iX3 has won rave reviews from major car websites, so I was somewhat surprised to hear of your negative experience. Also, your vehicle had undergone a number of diagnostic tests and passed with flying colours, suggesting it was unlikely to be faulty.

BMW blamed the lower than expected battery performance on factors such as outside temperature, driving style and using the air con and heated seats. This left you irate, as you felt it was wrongly shifting blame onto you. Conversely, you say that your Peugeot e2008 runs like a dream and has a fantastic battery range, making you suspect this issue sits with BMW.

However, this smaller Peugeot is used as an everyday runaround, unlike the iX3, which is used on the motorway and to drive the length of the country. You bought the iX3 to replace an older BMW X5, an SUV which you say was well suited to making long journeys to see relatives.

What you don’t seem to have realised is that although the iX3 is comparable in size to the X5, its performance on the motorway is quite different, due to its electric engine. Unfortunately, electric batteries tend to deplete more rapidly when cars are driven at faster speeds, meaning that their range on motorways can be disappointing. This is just the reality of electric cars in general.

I felt the BMW dealership where you bought the iX3 should have properly explained this to you at the point of purchase, but it seems this didn’t happen in quite the way it should. As a result, you have been in and out of the dealership stressed to the nines and now you’re chained to this ridiculous notebook.

However, following my involvement the dealership has agreed to return your £11,500 deposit. It has been agreed that all the payments you have made so far (£2,600 in total) will cover the cost of ownership over the past six months. You are delighted to be able to finally throw your notebook in the bin and get back to your wife.

When picking your next vehicle, I think you need to be a little more discerning. Clearly you’re keen to go electric, but I wonder whether you’d be better off replacing the iX3 with a hybrid model? This would allow you to pootle around town using the battery and fill up with petrol for longer journeys.

Have a look at BMW’s X3 xDrive30e, Volvo’s XC90 Recharge T8 and Range Rover’s Evoque P300e. All have great reviews and could be worth a test drive.

A spokesman for BMW said: “A fully electric car will be the ideal choice for many customers now. For some customers a plug-in hybrid or combustion engine vehicle may be the more appropriate choice.

“For this reason, it’s important that both retailers and customers discuss individual needs before each vehicle purchase.”

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