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China: BYD Investigating Electric Taxi Fire

SHANGHAI—BYD Co., 1211.HK -5.93% the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese auto maker, faces a setback in its electric car business after one of its e6 vehicles caught fire in a collision on Sunday that killed three people in the southern city of Shenzhen.

The company’s shares plunged Monday in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, reflecting investor concern that the crash could highlight safety issues with electric cars at a time when the Chinese government is pushing for their nationwide adoption. On Monday afternoon, BYD’s Hong Kong shares were down 5.6% at $15.30 Hong Kong dollars (US$1.97); its Shenzhen shares ended the day 2.6% lower at 23.75 yuan ($3.75).

Paul Lin, a spokesman for BYD, said the company’s e6 electric vehicle involved in the accident was in use as a taxi and caught fire after being hit by a Nissan GT-R sports car driven at 150-180 kilometers per hour (93-112 miles per hour). The taxi’s driver and two passengers died, he added.

“We are investigating…we’re trying to help the traffic department with the investigation,” Mr. Lin said.

A woman answering the phone at the traffic department of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau Monday declined to answer questions about the collision.
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