When damage to an electric vehicle’s battery pack occurs, and by damage we mean penetration by an object that manages to puncture all the way through to the cells, essentially exposing the lithium to the atmosphere, then you can expect a fire. And since virtually all EV have their batteries quite vulnerably placed in the floor of the vehicle, running over a solid object at highway speeds can be the end of your EV, as was the case for this Xpeng P7 owner in China.
According to local press reports, the P7 electric sedan was being drive by its owner on a stretch of Wechuan Highway, Baoshan District, Shanghai, when it encountered an unknown object in the road, which it ran over. The object went underneath the vehicle where it caused damage to the battery pack, and as you can see in the photos, the vehicle quickly caught fire and by the time emergency crews reached the scene, the front part was already very badly burnt.
The owner reportedly noticed smoke coming into the cabin almost immediately after the impact and quickly pulled over to the side of the road, escaping the car that was engulfed in flames not long after.
Xpeng sent some of its own specialists on the scene to analyze the wrecked remains of the P7, in order to investigate and ultimately determine what it was that the vehicle hit that eded up writing it off. On first impressions, it could apparently be some sort of truck part that fell off another vehicle and ended up on the road.
Gallery: XPeng P7 Black Label Edition
And that would make sense since a suspension component (not even necessarily a heavy duty one out of a truck) is certainly stiff and dense enough to be able to pierce right through a battery pack’s protective layers. Maybe the object even had a point or an edge to it as that obviously could have helped it push right into the battery pack all the way to the cells.
We’ll publish the findings of this investigation once they are made public.