A Zotye Langyue/Multipla EV serving as a taxicab burst into flame Monday afternoon in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, prompting the city to halt all electric taxis on safety concerns.
Firefighters rushed to the scene in minutes but couldn’t do much as the car quickly turned into a big fireball, and then ashes and an empty, back shell. No one was injured; the driver and two passengers in the vehicle got out in time.
Hangzhou is a pioneer among Chinese cities in popularizing electric cars. Last year, it boasted the first private ownership of a high-speed, all-electric car in all China as one of its residents bought a Zotye Nomad II EV (see our report: Forget Leaf and Volt. You Can Have a Zotye EV Now!). It deployed 30 EVs, 15 of the Zotye Langyue/Multipla model and 15 of Haima Freema, as taxicabs on its streets in late January this year, and plans to grow that fleet to 200 units by the year-end. The incident is likely to deal a big blow to those efforts .
The Hangzhou New Energy Taxi Company, which runs those electric taxicabs, announced hours after the incident that it had pulled all of the 30 vehicles off the streets as a full investigation would be carried out.