For right or wrong, recent lithium-ion battery fire stories in the news have caused some to question the safety of electric vehicles. Sometimes, the batteries hold up, and other times, they don’t. A horrific accident involving a Ferrari 599 GTO and an electric taxi May 26 in Singapore has gained international attention, but not because of an exploding battery. Another electric taxi accident in China did result in a battery explosion.
A tough intersection
Singapore’s Shin Min Daily News reports that the intersection where the fatal accident occurred – at the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street – had experienced six accidents over the previous 12 days. Throw in a speeding Ferrari 599 GTO, the Italian automaker’s fastest street-legal car, and a run red light and the potential for yet another disaster is enormous. A motorcycle was also reportedly involved.
Damning dash cam evidence
A dash cam shows that the Ferrari driven by 31-year-old Chinese businessman Ma Chi ran a red light, hitting the electric taxi. Witnesses have reportedly confirmed that Ma Chi was at fault. The struck taxi then plowed into a passing motorcyclist. The taxi’s electric motor was found 30 meters away from the vehicle.
Paramedics found Ma Chi and a 21-year-old female passenger dead at the scene. The driver of the electric taxi, 52-year-old Cheng Teck Hock, as well as his passenger and the motorcyclist were taken to a local hospital Tan Tock Seng, having suffered serious injuries. Hock is reportedly brain dead, and the prognosis for recovery is reportedly slim. The motorcyclist, a 20- or 21-year-old graduate of the East Asia Institute of Management, sustained spinal injuries.
Another bad day, also for electric vehicle batteries
Recently, there was another electric taxi accident in Shenzhen, China, this time between the taxi and a Nissan GT-R, notes PaulTan.org, a media watchdog blog. The cab driver and two passengers were tragically killed. According to the 21st Century Business Herald, the incident was exacerbated by a fire that began in the electric taxi’s lithium iron phosphate battery pack. The battery was manufactured by BYD, China’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer and a company that is partially owned by American billionaire Warren Buffet.
Following the Shenzhen electric taxi accident, stock in BYD dropped in both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets.