(Yicai Global) June 7 -- SAIC Motor Corp. [SHA:600104], owner of the Roewe auto brand, has said that a fire that gutted a Roewe E550 new energy car was caused by overheating due to improper charging after the owner admitted charging the vehicle at home.
The blaze was not the result of a battery explosion as Chinese Netizens have implied, an official at the Shanghai-based automaker's passenger-vehicle section told Yicai Global.
There has been much online discussion about the incident since a post titled 'A Roewe E550 Car in Shanghai Experienced Spontaneous Combustion' appeared on the China Auto Forum. The accompanying photo showed the rear section of the vehicle burned black and its seats turned to powder. Roewe ranks among the top plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in China, with 6,382 sold in the first five months of this year.
SAIC's passenger-vehicle technical team said that according to the normal charging procedure, AC charging piles that are in conformity with international standards should be used when a new energy vehicle is charged.
If a car owner cannot find a standard charging pile and needs to charge his/her new energy vehicle at home, power supply equipment and wiring boards should satisfy corresponding power requirements of 3.3 kilowatts and 16 amps. At the same time, the front-end circuit should be reliably grounded and have leakage and overload protections.
Mr. Shi, the owner of the Roewe E550 under discussion, has admitted that he charged his car with a power strip pulled from his home on the third floor.
The reporter from Yicai Global attended the public dismantlement of Mr. Shi's car, which was conducted by SAIC Group at a 4S shop, and noted that although the car was severely damaged and burst marks appeared on the tires, the battery package under the trunk was still intact and its external appearance was unchanged.
As the temperature was relatively higher when the car was on fire, the heat insulation cotton inside the battery pack was partly melted after a long period of combustion. But the superficial parts of the battery pack did not incur obvious damage.