Three BYD e6 Passengers Killed in Fiery Crash, Spurring EV Safety ConcernMay 27th, 2012 | Posted in BYD | Electric Car
In what is called by some "China’s first fatal crash involving a high-speed pure-electric car," three passengers in a BYD e6 taxicab, including the driver, were killed in Shenzhen on May 26.
In its microblog on weibo.com, Shenzhen traffic police say the accident happened at about 3:08 in the early morning on Binhai Dadao (Beach Boulevard) near the city’s downtown. A drunk driver crashed a high-speed Nissan GT-R into a BYD e6, and then collided with another, gasoline taxicab. The e6 hit a tree before bursting into flames. The GR-R was traveling at no less than 180km/h, an eyewitness told Guangzhou TV reporting on the crash. The driver and two female passengers on the pure-electric car apparently never had a chance to get out. A person in the other taxi suffered minor injuries. The drunk driver ran away from the scene, but turned himself in to the police later that morning, at about 10.
News about the accident has spread quickly as speculation mounts over the cause of the EV fire and its possible effects on BYD and the industry. It evokes the burning of a Zotye EV, which also served as a taxicab (no one was injured in that case) (Hangzhou Halts All Electric Taxis as a Zotye Langyue (Multipla) EV Catches Fire). While the e6 was obviously not at fault, people want to know why an EV, without a gas tank, can burn to ashes in minutes. Many of them still remember the words of Wang Chuanfu, Chairman of BYD: "Batteries from BYD would not explode even if you throw them into a fire."
Currently, about 400 e6s are running as taxicabs on the streets of Shenzhen, a pilot city promoting EVs. Just a month ago, the city’s traffic control agency announced that the fleet will grow to 800 units this year. What happened on Saturday deals a big blow to the city and the automaker, both having routinely boasted about the EV fleet’s safety records. BYD has yet to make an official statement on it.
Below are some of the pics about the crash posted on the microblogging site, weibo.com.