China’s BYD Defends its e6 AEV in Wake of Saturday’s Fatality Accident

On Tuesday, Chinese automaker BYD Company claimed that its e6 AEV has passed every safety test required by Chinese safety inspectors. The statement came just three days after an e6 caught fire after being involved in a collision.

According to BYD, the accident occurred with an e6, which was operating as a commercial taxi, was struck in the rear by a sports car traveling at about 112 mph. The accident occurred in the southern China city of Shenzhen and claimed the lives of the driver of the e6, and two passengers.

In defense of the e6, and electric vehicles in general, BYD said, “Any vehicles undergoing multiple crashes and spinning like the one in the [May 26] traffic accident will result in great danger for the passengers and driver, even gasoline-powered vehicles might burn.”

On Monday, shares of BYD stock fell 5.9 percent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, prompting a swift response from the automaker. The company, which is backed by billionaire American investor Warren Buffett, said the batteries used in the e6 have undergone extensive testing, including abuse tests which resulted in a 50 percent deformation without any incidences of the batteries igniting.

China’s Finance Ministry has announced that it will initiate new incentives to help promote the broader adoption of electrified vehicles, including hybrids and AEVs. It also plans to ask municipalities to provide preferential parking and reduced fees on toll road usage and battery charging. It total, the new subsidies are expected to cost between 1 billion yuan and 2 billion yuan – the equivalent of between about $160 million and $315 million.

China has already offered a number of very aggressive incentive packages to support the development of alternative fuel vehicles, including a 120,000 yuan incentive for buyers of the BYD e6 model.

According to BYD, the company has not been given access to the e6 that was involved in Saturday’s fatality collision but added that it intends to cooperate fully in the official investigation. The e6 is currently being held by authorities in Shenzhen.

BYD said that it “strongly believes that the incident will not have a negative impact on the development of our new energy industry.”

On Tuesday, BDY shares had risen 5.5 percent; nearly wiping out Monday’s losses.

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