A drunk driver sped through the streets of Shenzhen, a major city in Southern China, in their Nissan GT-R at around 120mph. The car collided with BYD’s e6 electric taxi, tragically killing 2 passengers and the taxi driver.
Soon after the crash in a matter of minutes, the electric vehicle spontaneously burst into flames. Some have speculated that the batteries in the taxi may have been to blame but BYD issued a statement, explaining that the e6 taxi and all their batteries passed regulatory tests.
So while the cause of the fire is still being investigated it doesn’t instil much confidence into the ultimate safety of electric vehicles; especially since it was discovered that no flammable fuel was onboard.
In the UK and around the world, alternative fuel vehicles are slowly growing in popularity with various companies investing in electric and hybrid vehicles in particular. Diesel engines are known to contribute to negative emissions but they fuel a lot of black cabs and a variety of other vehicles.
So with many independent environmental groups and the government pushing some developments towards eco-friendly vehicles, this story should make them think twice about whether these alternative vehicles are truly ready for mainstream use. Taxi insurance providers will also be quite concerned if certain taxi vehicles are more susceptible to damage.
This case in China is not the first for controversy over electric vehicle batteries. General Motor’s Chevrolet Volt has had some well publicised issues in the past over unknown fires starting after a crash.
So far there has not been much talk about changing the hackney carriages and private taxi vehicles currently in use in the UK. The biggest change so far is the option for London taxi drivers to use the Mercedes Vito taxi.
Going back to the original news story, Chinese media have reported that the driver of the Nissan was a male accompanied by 3 female passengers. All four were not seriously injured and the man fled the scene soon after the collision. Later, a man turned himself in to police but he showed no signs of being involved in a car crash which led the police to believe that he may have been hired.
The investigation continues.