Chinese EV Maker Li Auto Responds to “Broken Axle” Accident

On the evening of Sept. 7, a car blogger surnamed Feng posted a video on Weibo, saying that Li Auto’s sole model Li ONE had another “broken axle” incident.

The video showed a Li ONE parked next to a flower bed with its emergency blinkers on. The left front wheel had fallen off and the fender was damaged – clear signs of a collision.

Within an hour after Feng’s post, Li Auto stated that after the accident scene investigation and the driving recorder playback, the driver did not pay attention to the road conditions when it was raining, and hit the concrete flower bed in the middle of the road at a speed of 51kph. 

Li Auto’s after-sales team confirmed the cause of the accident with the user on the spot, and the driver has also applied for insurance for repairs and made clarifications in the user group, the company said on Weibo.

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Chinese tech media 36Kr reported that it is the fourth wheel hub loss incident that Li ONE has encountered since its first delivery.

All four accidents were characterized as caused by collisions with fixed buildings by Li Auto, according to 36Kr.

Frequent accidents have stirred public discussions over the suspension structure of the Li ONE, which uses a MacPherson suspension, while high-end cars on the market use a double-wishbone structure. 

The lateral force of this suspension structure is borne by the lower swing arm, and if the force is too large, it will break.

On Aug. 16, Li Auto issued a statement, quoting official suspension materials data to prove that the Li Auto suspension system is safe and reliable.

“The lower arm of Li ONE’s front suspension uses a composite structure composed of PHT780F stamped steel plate and PA6-GF50 material. The choice of this more cost-effective material is to ensure the strength of the Li ONE suspension structure,” Li Auto stated.