2019 fails to accelerate at low speed then "⚠️ Drivetrain Malfunction"

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New member
May 14, 2024
I'm looking forward to buying an i3 soon and test drove a 2019 REX with around 30k miles yesterday. It was sitting in the hot sun at the Car Max parking lot directly before driving it. I inserted my OBD scanner and connected it to Electrified (see pic). So far so good. Drove for about 15 minutes, mostly city driving with 1 mile on the interstate. Then we stop and switch drivers so my fiance can try it. As she attempts to pull away from a stop she says that the car won't accelerate. We are going maybe 10 MPH and she says she has her foot all the way down on the accelerator. So we pull over, switch drivers again, and the car appears normal for another 3 minutes or so. Then the same thing happens to me (see videos). This time though, the car came to a stop and we got a red triangle with "drive train malfunction". Turned off the car for 30 seconds then back on and all seemed normal. No "service soon" message or any indication that something is amiss.

So, a few questions:
1) anybody else seen this behavior before?
2) I left the OBD scanner in for the duration of the test drive. Could that have somehow caused this? Electrify and OBDlink apps were both running.
3) Car Max said they'd look into it, but I have little faith they will investigate properly. Would you buy this car? Carfax indicates it was rear ended with moderate disabling damage 18 months ago. Police report said it was a low speed incident in which the pickup truck that struck the i3 was barely damaged.

I'm glad I found this forum. Wonderful resource!!


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My advice would be that, unless it's a very very special car, I would just leave it and go and find another one. Some of the "drivetrain malfunction" faults can be very expensive to fix, and you probably won't enjoy the process of taking it back multiple times to get it fixed under warranty. It's not a rare enough car to be worth the aggravation (IMO).