The car's cabin caught fire within nine seconds, which was not caused by the vehicle itself, but possibly by flammable and explosive items that ignited, Li Auto said.
(Image from Li Auto's Weibo post.)
A Li ONE vehicle fire earlier this week put Li Auto in the spotlight, and now the company has responded in detail, ruling out a vehicle quality issue.
"Based on the information available at this time, we do not believe that the fire was caused by a vehicle quality issue, and Li Auto will cooperate with the fire department to investigate the specific cause of the fire," the company said in a statement posted to Weibo on August 4.
On August 1, a Li ONE caught fire on the Chengdu-Chongqing highway in Sichuan province, where four people were burned and quickly left the vehicle, Li Auto's statement said, adding that it is cooperating with the owner and the fire department in the investigation of the incident.
Vehicle data showed that at the time of the fire, the vehicle's extended-range system and fuel circuit system, high-voltage power supply system, low-voltage power supply system, power battery, drive motor and motor controller were all working properly without any circuit shorts or fuel leakage problems, according to the statement.
An inspection of the vehicle by Li Auto's technicians found its battery pack to be intact, the battery pack's outer covering intact with no visible deformation, and the battery pack's internal foam cushion with no signs of combustion, the statement said, adding that the vehicle's fuel tank was also intact.
Li Auto released detailed data from the vehicle before it burned:
At 13:17:55, the vehicle was traveling at 85 km/h. The vehicle's air conditioning system was on and the sensors indicated an outside temperature of 24°C (rain) and an inside temperature of 32.5°C in the second row.
At 13:17:57, the temperature of the second row inside the vehicle instantly increased to 85°C.
At 13:18:01 seconds, the PM 2.5 value inside the car starts to rise rapidly from 14 to 999.
In 13:18:04, the driver opened the left front door, followed by the vehicle right front and left rear doors open, the vehicle passenger seat occupancy signal disappeared, the vehicle personnel all left the vehicle.
Comprehensive analysis showed that the vehicle fire started in the cabin, the front range extender system and the bottom battery and fuel tank did not burn, and there was no fuel leakage, Li Auto said.
"A fire of this magnitude in the cabin in just nine seconds was not caused by the vehicle itself, and we suspect that flammable and explosive items were present and ignited inside the vehicle," the statement said.
Li Auto is in contact with the owner and is providing the necessary support and assistance to the extent that is legal and reasonable, it said, adding that they will await the results of the fire department's investigation.
Li Auto delivered 10,422 vehicles in July, up 21.34 percent from 8,589 in the same month last year but down 19.98 percent from 13,024 in June, data released August 1 showed.
The currently available model for Li Auto is the Li ONE, which has accumulated 194,913 deliveries since the car debuted in the market in 2019.
Li Auto launched the Li L9 on June 21, the company's second model after the Li ONE, following its predecessor's extended-range technology. Its deliveries are expected to begin this month.