BMW i3’s are tracking you

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 11.39.35

I bought a used BMW i3 2016 a couple of weeks back. It was time to replace the old car, and the benefits of having an EV in Oslo are very favorable.

New (or, 3 year old) cars come with new gadgets. This one is the “fully charged” edition, which means a nice sun roof, adaptive cruise control (cool!) and real time traffic updates on the navigation. It also has an app where you can turn on the heat in winter and probably much more I don’t know about yet.

Anyway, the first thing I do is to go into the menu system on the car and disable “GPS Tracking”. I think this is for the people that don’t know or remember where it is parked. If your partner uses it sometimes, and you park on public roads, I’m sure it has benefits.

I’m the sole driver, so I don’t need it, and I don’t fancy reporting the position to random germans ever so often. I turned it off, that is sorted then, right?

Well, no.

If you ask for a data archive (think google takeout for your car) from BMW CarData, it still shows position:

<name>Posisjon til kjøretøyet – geografisk lengde</name>
<fetchTimestamp>10.05.2019 10:01:00</fetchTimestamp>
<valueTimestamp>09.05.2019 17:49:55</valueTimestamp>

Yesterday May 9th, the “GPS Tracking” setting was definitively off.

If you look at the connecteddrive web app, they eagerly tell you tracking is off and that they think the car is in Helsinki.

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 11.44.35


This is the position reported in the data archive, shown on a map:

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 11.46.36

The position is accurate, this is where my car was parked last night.

This is not ok.


Update: There is a thread on this on elbilforum:

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