Chinese EV startup Nio car crashes, two killed

Two people involved in testing a car by Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup Nio were killed after the car fell from the third floor of the office building during the test drive in Shanghai.

The duo lost control of the car in a parking area in Shanghai Automotive Innovation Port in Anting, Jiading district, before the car smashed windows and fell to the ground on Wednesday, South China Morning Post reported, citing state-owned Shanghai Television.

The startup confirmed the accident on Thursday evening and said the testing staff included one of its employees and a technician from one of its partners, without elaborating further.

No flaws involving the test vehicle had been found in initial investigations, it added.

As per the report, the crash is likely to spark a new wave of concern about the safety of intelligent EVs that feature autonomous driving technology.

A person familiar with the situation at Nio, who declined to be identified, said the police were investigating the case.

One of the two staff died soon after they were taken to a hospital nearby, and the other died on Thursday morning after surgery, Shanghai Television said.

According to pictures circulating on social media, the test vehicle appeared to be an ET5 sedan, which will be delivered to buyers in September this year.

The mid-size car features a “digital cockpit” that is squarely aimed at Tesla’s popular Model 3. Priced from 328,000 yuan ($48,910), the car comes with PanoCinema, a panoramic and immersive digital cockpit boasting augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.

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