An accident involving a NIO vehicle in Shanghai has led to one death and one serious injury, sparking much discussion on Chinese social media. The electric vehicle suddenly accelerated onto the sidewalk during a prospective buyer’s test drive. The driver has been detained by the police, and the incident is under further investigation.
According to the Chinese electric vehicle maker, a female prospective buyer was driving the car accompanied by an employee. The area in which this incident took place was densely trafficked. The driver was flustered and mistook the accelerator for the brake.
“We don’t want such a thing to ever happen. The customer signed a test drive agreement, so she should be responsible for this matter. If we need to provide compensation, we will cooperate with the relevant parties. There was no problem with the car itself. The customer obtained her driver’s license over one year ago. She may have insufficient driving experience,” said the NIO staff member.
NIO‘s app shows that in order to test drive a vehicle, the driver must provide personal identification documentation and a legal driver’s license that has been obtained more than one year ago, wear appropriate footwear, and take a photo for records.
In the past two years, there have been many casualties caused by accidents during test drives. In January 2020, a Lincoln car crashed into a tree, causing one death and four injuries. In April 2021, a BYD car accelerated onto a sidewalk and fatally struck a cyclist. In July 2022, a Li L9 collided with a metal guardrail at a speed of 86 km/h (53 mph) and damaged the guardrail for over 30 meters (98 feet).
Media outlet Yicai quoted a vehicle engineer saying that, due how an electric vehicle works, all-electric vehicles generally accelerate more rapidly than internal combustion engine vehicles. The acceleration and braking controls feel quite different from those of internal combustion engine vehicles. Most people driving an electric vehicle for the first time need to adapt to the difference. Moreover, while many car companies show customers how the car accelerates during the test drive, inexperienced drivers will be a potential safety hazard on the open road.