As an EV driver, I get asked an endless number of questions from friends, family, and strangers. These questions can range all over the place. But a few times, I have been asked: What if the battery pack just falls out/down from the vehicle as you’re driving?
My answer is always that it can’t exactly happen, at least not with my vehicle. These companies put a lot of time and effort into R&D to make sure things like that don’t happen. After all, their reputation is on the line during a major shift in the automobile industry that will either be a make-it-or-break-it moment for all of them.
However, it appears that this is exactly what happened to an EV owner in China. It isn’t a company that sells vehicles in the US, so you won’t have to worry about running out to the garage to check the condition of your battery (at least for this brand).
The company is Cao Cao (a subsidiary of Geely Technology Group) and the model is its Cao Cao 60 that launched back in March. It is designed to swap its battery out in place of charging the vehicle. An interesting idea as it would greatly reduce the wait times of charging to whatever time is required for the pack to be quickly swapped out (bringing the wait to around a single minute). It’s interesting as long as you don’t experience any calamitous malfunctions.
A YouTuber by the name CarNewsChina shared the following video that shows the Cao Cao 60 sitting dead in the middle of a Chinese road with the battery pack behind it lying flat on the ground.
Not too good for the driver of that vehicle and likely not very good for Cao Cao (or Geely) either. I don’t know how strictly the Chinese government will crack down on the company if it is found to absolutely be the fault of the design. But some kind of investigation and resulting regulations definitely need to be worked out if so. It could just be a freak incident unless it starts happening to other vehicles, but still worth looking into just in case.
The specific model (Cao Cao 60) isn’t available to consumers as it is a part of the company’s ride-hailing service. Instead, it is a low-cost affordable solution for Cao Cao’s fleet workers. So the driver was quite likely one of these employees (with or without passengers at the time).