BYD has a problem: electric cars shouldn't burst into flame, but one of their e6 taxis did and it cost three lives. Fuel cells work even better if they are stationary, and government scientists are working to make them more affordable. Solar Impulse completes historic flight to Morocco, Quadrofoil emerges from Slovenia and Nissan will build the e-NV200 van in Spain.
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More on BYD’s e6 Taxi Tragedy

Clearly, something is seriously wrong with the BYD e6 and hopefully the Chinese company will demonstrate the integrity to find out why it was the only one of three cars involved in a deadly traffic accident in Shenzhen last month that burst into flames and taking the life of the taxi driver and his two female passengers.

Here’s what we know right now. On May 26, 2012, a Nissan GT-R with two passengers aboard -- both later tested and found to be intoxicated -- were racing a BMW at more than 100 mph when the Nissan smashed into both a Volkswagen Santana taxi, which was flipped on its top, but not before rear ending the BYD all-electric e6 taxi, shoving it across the road where it immediately burst into flames. None of the passengers in the BYD car were able to escape and died in the inferno. The driver and passenger in the Santana survived with only minor injuries, as did the GT-R driver and his passenger. Neither the Nissan, which caused the crash, nor the VW caught fire, despite being gasoline powered.

The central question is why did the e6, which uses no gasoline, catch fire so suddenly? The most recent speculation coming from BYD’s Stella Li is that the electrolyte in the battery pack may have leaked and caught fire, Defending the e6, Ms. Li said no car can be safely engineered to withstand being smashed from the rear at 180 km/h. If the problem is the electrolyte, then BYD needs to come up with a better, safer alternative. Mostly, they need to make sure they are honest and transparent with the regulators and the public.


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