EV Startup WM Motor Faces Safety Concerns
According to a recent report by China National Radio’s The Voice of China, an accident involving the spontaneous combustion of a WM Motor EX5 model occurred in Sanya, Hainan on January 20 this year.
On the day in question, a tourist drove a rented WM Motor EX5 in the city of Sanya. After just 10 minutes on the road, the driver heard a noise coming from under the car – which had been fully charged – then the vehicle began to produce smoke. The driver recalled that the whole process from his hearing a sound to the car’s catching fire was ten seconds.
After investigation, the local fire department found that the flame was caused by a “power battery failure.” However, WM Motor has refused to acknowledge the report, insisting that its car was fine.
In December last year, WM Motor’s electric vehicles (EVs) suffered three spontaneous combustion incidents in the cities of Zhengzhou, Haikou and Sanya within a span of just four days.
In addition to the obvious safety concerns, many car owners who had bought WM Motor’s EX5 have become worried about their decreasing cruising range after a recent system upgrade. They suspected that in order to avoid battery failure, WM Motor adjusted the upper limit of charging during the upgrade, a claim that has been denied by the EV maker.
An automobile industry analyst said that at present, the power of EVs is calculated through various mathematical models, which might be inaccurate. If the battery is overcharged, it will cause thermal runaway and occasional accidents. Therefore, some automobile companies will adjust the upper limit of charging to reduce the possibility of lithium battery accidents.
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It is worth mentioning that WM Motor announced in October 2020 that it would recall 1,282 EX5 models. The reason for the recall is that the power battery of this batch of vehicles produced abnormal lithium evolution due to impurities mixed in the production process by the battery supplier. In extreme cases, this may lead to short circuit of the battery core, causing a fire risk.