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Zoyte’s response to EV accident: Risks can be controlled

SHANGHAI – “The spontaneous combustion risks of new energy vehicles are no more than that of traditional vehicles, and such risks can be adequately under control,” claimed Zoyte chairman Wu Jianzhong at the 2011 Global Automotive Symposium® organized by CBU/CAR on April 20-21. This was the first time that Wu directly responded to the media about the EV accident.

According to Wu, Zoyte has made a preliminary judgment about the cause of the accident based on joint analysis with its partner. Wu declined to reveal the investigation result at the symposium for a better credibility, as he explained. Some experts in Hangzhou are investigating the accident and the result will be released soon, disclosed Wu at the conference.

On April 11 in Hangzhou, a Zotye Multipla (Langyue) electric vehicle serving as a taxicab burst into flame. Being the first EV spontaneous combustion case in China, the accident aroused great attention of media and public. The incident caused no casualties, said media sources.

“I arrived at the accident spot with our technical team as quickly as possible,” said Wu. “According to the video recorded by the street surveillance camera, the driver pulled over the car immediately after hearing the unusual sound in the car and the two passengers got out the car unhurriedly. The driver then examined the car for 4 to 5 minutes and there’s no running or screaming of people as rumors said,” Wu told the audience of the conference.

“The battery used in the Langyue electric vehicle was lithium iron phosphate battery, not lead-acid battery as reported by some media,” said Wu during an exclusive interview with CBU/CAR.

Zoyte has conducted a series of reforms and adjustments after the accident, said Wu. The company is to equip every EV in operation with a remote monitoring device by the end of May for a better risk control, added Wu.

The company’s first EV was registered in March 2009 and it started EV leasing and sales in January 2010 to the public. The combined mileage run by Zoyte’s EVs operated by different customers totaled hundreds of thousands kilometers and the accident was “the very first time in two years’ smooth operation,” said Wu.

Zoyte has conducted the R&D of new energy vehicles for five years since 2005, said Wu. “We are still a sower, not a reaper in this field at current stage because few EVs have been sold on the market.”

“Zoyte began the EV industrialization only from last year with no intention for a quick success,” disclosed the chairman. “Down-to-earth EV R&D is our responsibility to the industry and the society,” added him.

Hangzhou is one of the 25 pilot cities for new energy vehicle fleet demonstration and one of the five cities selected by the central government to offer subsidies for EV individual buyers. “Electric vehicles can be improved via test runs, which is also the original intention of the pilot programs,” said Wu.

All our tasks, including the pursuing of better environment and cleaner energy as well as China’s 40-45 percent emission reduction commitment to the international society require joint efforts of enterprises, said Wu to the audience at the conference. To fulfill these tasks, Zoyte is conducting EV experiment with the Hangzhou municipal government and partners, added Wu.  

According to Wu, to promote the pilot run of new energy vehicles, Hangzhou municipal government has established a development liaison group, an exhibition and sales center, a service center, and a rental company for new energy vehicles in the city.

Wu also disclosed that the State Grid has built 12 EV charging and battery swap stations in Hangzhou and the number will be increased to 38 next year with at least one station in the range of every 5 kilometers in the city.

Translated by Jennifer Chen based on author’s article on cbuauto.com.cn

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