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Nio, a leading electric car company in China, has said two people died after one of its vehicles plummeted from the third floor of its headquarters in Shanghai.
One of the victims was a Nio employee, while the other worked for a partner company. Both were inside the vehicle when it fell, Nio confirmed.
Nio, a company that’s considered a Tesla rival, said the incident took place at approximately 5.20pm on Wednesday (22 June).
In an initial statement, Nio stressed that the incident was ‘not caused by the vehicle itself’, sparking outrage on China’s social media platform Weibo, with people pointing out that Nio’s comment seemed like an attempt to avoid responsibility.
According to The Guardian, one person wrote: “To be honest, the last line of your statement (which said it was not caused by the vehicle) highlighted the cold-bloodedness of capital.”
Nio then amended its statement, putting the ‘not caused by the vehicle’ line in brackets, which the outlet suggests was an effort to ‘de-emphasise it’.
The company’s second statement read: “Our company has collaborated with public security department to launch the investigation and analysis of the cause of the accident. Based on the analysis of the situation at the scene, we can initially confirm that this was an accident (not caused by the vehicle).”
It continued: "We feel very sad about this accident and would like to express our deepest condolences to our colleague and partner employee who lost their lives. A team has been set up to help the families.”
According to Sky News, the pair were ‘digital cabin testers’ and the vehicle they were in fell from a parking garage located in Nio’s Innovation Port building.
Nio also confirmed an investigation into the incident would be carried out by government officials, according to Sky.
Photos published by Chinese media show the crumpled vehicle lying on its side. Surrounded by glass, emergency workers could be seen trying to retrieve the people inside, and the car’s roof was caved in.
Covering the incident on Friday (24 June), Asian Tech Press said the car that crashed was Nio’s first sedan, the ET7 flagship EV.
ATP further reported that company insiders had suggested the accident may have happened because the reverse gear was put in forward.
According to ATP, sources also claimed the driver had stepped on the gas pedal after putting the car into reverse, causing the vehicle to ‘fall directly from the parking building after crashing through the guardrail’.
UNILAD has approached Nio for comment.
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