Chinese EV Maker WM Motor Recalls Over 1,000 Vehicles After Battery Fires

WM Motor, a startup electric vehicle producer, issued a recall for 1,282 vehicles on Wednesday after a car caught fire. 

Shanghai-based WM, also known by its brand name Weltmeister, published the recall notice on its official Weibo account. WM blamed the fires on flaws in the cars’ batteries. 

“The incident was caused by the battery cell supplier mixing impurities in the production process, causing abnormal lithium evolution in the power battery,” the notice wrote. “In extreme cases, it may cause the battery cell to short-circuit, causing thermal runaway of the power battery and risk of fire.”

The news comes as a blow a month after WM raised 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion) from investors, such as Shanghai city government, state-owned carmaker SAIC Motor and internet giant Baidu Inc.

SEE ALSO:WM Motor Completes 10B Yuan D Round of Financing

On Tuesday night, a WM electric car near the North Fourth Ring Road in Haidian District, Beijing, caught fire and exploded. The incident didn’t cause injuries or casualties, according to a local news report.

Pictures at the scene showed that the hood, door and trunk of a white car were open, with fire enveloping the entire body and smoke rising to the sky. 

This is not the first time a spontaneous combustion accident has occurred in WM vehicles. 

On Oct. 1, Shaowu City in southeastern Fujian Province launched a pure electric taxi driving project and released a total of 131 new energy electric taxis, of which WM produced 80. Five days after the launch, WM electric taxis had two spontaneous combustion incidents on Oct. 5 and Oct. 13.

The Transportation Bureau of Shaowu City then suspended the operation of WM electric taxis. In response to the two accidents, WM Motors said on Oct. 14 that the two recent spontaneous combustions were due to battery problems.

According to WM’s recall announcement, the manufacturer of batteries used in the recalled vehicles is ZTE High Energy, a large-scale holding subsidiary of Chinese telecommunication equipment company ZTE’s new energy sector. Its main business includes research and development, production and sales of new energy vehicle power battery products.

On Wednesday, ZTE High Energy announced that it had produced the batteries of the two burned taxis, but was not involved in the Beijing incident. 

ZTE High Energy has installed more than 1,282 batteries for WM, and the remaining vehicles have not appeared on the recall list.