BYD issues statement: electric cars passed all tests, batteries stress tested
By Gavin Conway on May 29, 2012 12:27 PM
A horrific crash in Shenzhen involving a drunk-driver in a Nissan GT-R supercar, an electric taxi made by BYD and a third, petrol-powered taxi has claimed the lives of three people. They were the two female passengers and the driver of the BYD e6 electric taxi, reports the South China Morning Post.
Witnesses have said that the Nissan appeared to be travelling at up to 120mph when it collided with the other two vehicles in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was said that the e6 taxi burst into flames very shortly after the crash. Images taken from television reports from the scene show the flames engulfing the passenger cell of the taxi – the batteries are located under the front seats and toward the rear compartment.
The scene of the crash, showing the GT-R, the driver of which was allegedly intoxicated
BYD has issued a statement to the effect that the e6 has passed all regulatory tests and that the batteries have undergone extensive stress tests. The company also says batteries have survived a 50% deformation test without catching fire.
The Chinese government is massively committed to electrifying transport – there are 300-odd BYD e6 taxis and 200 pure-electric buses running in Shenzhen. The city is aiming to become China's electric vehicle capital and it is determined to replace 50 per cent of the city's internal combustion engine buses with electric or hybrid models by 2015.
A BYD e6 electric car
The cause of the fire has yet to be established, but press coverage of the incident is likely to have a negative impact on public perceptions surrounding electric vehicles. As General Motors learned when its Chevrolet Volt came under scrutiny over battery fires, even if the car is exonerated, the mud sticks.
See a Chinese news report on the accident below:
Chinese media “muzzled”
The latest twist to the saga appears to be that journalists in China have been instructed by State Propaganda Officials to “stick to the details of Saturday's crash but not to be critical of vehicle maker BYD or voice safety fears”, according to the South China Morning Post this morning.
It says: “Guangdong propaganda authorities have urged local media not to report anything critical about electric cars or BYD Auto after one its e6 taxis burst into flames in a Shenzhen crash, killing its driver and two passengers.”