According to the US recall regulator NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), BMW will recall 3,431 2022-2023 i4 eDrive40 and iX xDrive50 electric vehicles in the United States.
It is reported that the reason for this recall is that the artificial sound generator control unit may malfunction during the starting process of the vehicle and cannot generate the external pedestrian warning sound. As such, these vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. Dealers will be offering a free software update for the artificial exterior sound generator, and owner notification letters are expected by March 17, 2023.
The U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require electric or hybrid vehicles to emit a certain amount of noise so that pedestrians can know that a car is approaching. Since electric motors are usually quiet, especially at low speeds (and tires make noise at high speeds), automakers often make their cars make artificial sounds, usually hum or whoosh.
The recall is apparently fixable with a software update, though it doesn’t look like BMW is taking Tesla’s approach with an OTA update. The NHTSA notice says dealers will offer a free software update to the artificial exterior sound generator, which means owners will still need to take their cars in for repairs.