BYD Executive Says Electric-Car Battery Didn’t Cause Crash Fire

BYD Co., the Chinese electric carmaker backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, said the fire that engulfed an e6 taxi after a crash last month wasn’t caused by flammable fluids leaking from the batteries.

The fire was probably caused by either the tires or a cable when the cab crashed into a tree, according to BYD’s Senior Vice President Stella Li, citing initial findings from two external investigation teams. The battery fluids didn’t leak before the blaze, she said.

“Our e6 is a safe design,” Li, who is based in Los Angeles, said in an e-mail. “All details will be released soon.”

Three passengers of a BYD e6 taxi were killed May 26 in Shenzhen, China, after a speeding Nissan Motor Co. GT-R sports car struck the cab, which then caught fire, Southern Metropolis Daily reported on May 27. BYD said in a May 29 statement that gasoline-powered vehicles may also burn after traffic accidents such as the one last month, where the sports car was speeding at more than 180 kilometers (112 miles) an hour.

The three victims died from the crash, not in the subsequent fire, Li said in her e-mail.

A Reuters report on June 6 cited Li as saying that flammable fluids leaking from the car battery may have led the e6 electric vehicle to catch fire.

BYD was unchanged at HK$15.40 as of 10:13 a.m. in Hong Kong trading, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 0.7 percent.

— With assistance by Liza Lin

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