A bizarre motoring incident appears to have unfolded in the UK this past weekend. 53-year-old Brian Morrison from Glasgow claimed that his MG ZS EV “kidnapped” him while driving home from work on a Sunday night.
The BBC reported that the vehicle was stuck at 30 miles per hour, and Morrison had mobility issues that prevented him from jumping out of the EV. He could steer the vehicle, but apparently not bring it to a halt.
He heard grinding noises from the brake pads, and the report implies that the brakes weren’t working.
Before calling the police, he called his wife in panic, asking her to alert the vehicles in front of him. People might react unusually when they panic, but this sounds logic-defying and inexplicable. How could she possibly inform other vehicles?
After calling the emergency line, three police vehicles arrived. The police asked him to throw the key fob out of the vehicle, and long press the power button to switch the traction motor off, but that reportedly did not yield any results.
Most modern cars are equipped with power immobilization systems. The police were probably trying to stall the vehicle – smart keys supplied with the vehicle are programmed into the security system of a car and they only work within a certain range.
When that didn’t work, the police had the EV crash into the back of their van, which finally brought it to a standstill. The story gets more strange. “A police officer jumped into my car and did something which seemed to keep the car still," said Morrison. What does “something” mean?
Moreover, there’s conflicting information in the report. Right after mentioning that the police managed to keep the ZS EV stationary, the driver also said that the police couldn’t move their van, because if they did, the ZS EV would continue moving.
Three hours later, a roadside assistance vehicle arrived on the scene and ran a diagnostic check. It found “pages of faults.” MG Motor UK told the BBC that the vehicle would be fully inspected by its engineering team, and it would try to “resolve matters quickly and comprehensively.”
“In the event of normal brake failure, emergency braking using the electronic parking brake (EPB) can be initiated by pulling and holding the EPB switch upward,” the ZS EV’s user manual for the UK states. It’s unclear if the driver knew this function even existed.
If the EPB fails to activate, the vehicle will enable the parking function of the electric drive transmission, as per the manual. While it’s possible that the vehicle’s electronics malfunctioned or the brakes failed, user error cannot be ruled out either. In March 2023, an investigation revealed that a Tesla driver in China caused an accident by pressing the wrong pedal.
With murky details available, we'll have to wait for the investigation results to find out what exactly went wrong. But so far, there’s limited supporting evidence to conclude that the EV suffered a “catastrophic malfunction” as claimed by the driver.
The alarmist claim of being “kidnapped” also sounds exaggerated at this stage as the police officer who jumped in the vehicle brought it under control immediately. What do you think might have gone wrong in this case? Leave your thoughts in the comments.