Flammable fluids that leaked from a BYD electric car battery could have caused a fire after a high-speed collision in China in May, according to BYD executive Stella Li. She is referring to an accident that took place in Shenzhen, China, on May 26, 2012, when a Nissan GT-R sports car cruising at least 180 kph (110 mph) collided with the BYD e6 taxi that burst into flames afterwards.
Local police are still probing the crash. Li defended the safety of the electric cars that BYD designs and sells in China, telling Reuters that no carmaker could design a car that could weather a 180-kph crash coming from the backside. Li explained further to Reuters that it may weeks or months before police could make a conclusion.
Li said that there is "a big chance" that liquid electrolyte - one of the three main components in a battery – may have leaked after the crash. According to Li, sparks from high-voltage cables or screeching wheels could have caused the liquid electrolyte to catch fire.
BYD has sold about 500 e6 cars in China since 2012, with around half of them delivered to taxi operators and other fleet customers. The incident has sparked fears among several investors that carmakers were overconfident about the safety of electric car batteries. The incident could also be discussed at BYD's annual shareholders' meeting on Friday in Shenzhen. BYD's shares fell to a seven-month low on May 28, 2012, the first trading day following the crash.