Probably because of the heavy traffic in the area where the incident occurred, the female consumer mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake in a panic and caused the accident, local media quoted an staff as saying.

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A fatal accident involving an NIO (NYSE: NIO) vehicle was a trending topic in China yesterday, and now a staff from the company has provided more details.

The female driver who test-drove the vehicle may have panicked when she saw heavy traffic on the road and mistakenly pressed the accelerator pedal as the brake, causing the tragedy, local media outlet Jimu News said in a report yesterday, citing an NIO employee.

At around 20:00 on February 3, an NIO vehicle used for test drive ran onto the sidewalk near Grand Gateway in the busy Xuhui district of downtown Shanghai, killing one and injuring another, Haibao News reported earlier yesterday.

The tragedy occurred when the vehicle suddenly accelerated into the sidewalk during the consumer's test drive, according to Haibao News.

Jimu News reported that their reporter called NIO as the consumer, and a staff member of the latter said that the accident did occur on February 3, when a female customer was test-driving and she was accompanied by a staff member.

Probably because of the crowded place where the incident occurred, the lady mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake in a panic and caused the accident, the NIO staff member said.

"We don't want something like this to happen. The lady signed a test drive agreement before the test drive, and she has to take responsibility for the matter. If we need to bear the compensation, we will also actively cooperate with the regulatory authorities," the staff said.

The NIO staff did not disclose the model involved in the accident, but said there was nothing wrong with the car itself, and that the consumer's license was obtained more than a year ago, but may not have enough driving experience.

A lawyer said the driver, as the actual operator of the vehicle, is usually the person responsible for the accident. The driver is only blameless if there was a fault with the vehicle and that fault was the direct cause of the crash, according to Jimu News.

If the vehicle owner gives the vehicle to someone who is not qualified to drive or has been drinking, that also entails liability for the accident, otherwise it does not, the lawyer said.

If the merchant buys insurance for the vehicle used for test driving, then the insurance company should follow the terms and conditions of the accident and pay the claim, according to the lawyer.

As for the test drive agreement signed by the customer and the merchant before the test drive, it is difficult to evaluate the content because it is not known. But in general, the agreement will tend to protect the rights and interests of the merchant, the lawyer said.

The victims of the accident were a mother and son, with the mother dead and the son seriously injured. The driver has been controlled by police and the cause of the incident is under further investigation, according to Haibao News.

NIO Space, which owns the vehicle, was officially opened on July 17, 2022, and is NIO's 27th store in Shanghai and its first offline store in the bustling Xuhui district, according to information previously announced by the NIO App.

Separately, Yicai yesterday quoted a test engineer from unnamed car companies as saying that pure electric vehicles generally have stronger acceleration than fuel cars, and their acceleration and braking characteristics are very different from those of fuel cars, and that most people need an adaptation process when driving a pure electric vehicle for the first time.

For test drives, NIO requires a driver's license, and the test driver needs to have obtained the license for at least one year. Test drivers wearing high heels or flip-flops will be denied a test drive, according to the NIO App.

NIO's test drive verification process is not significantly different from other car companies. In some NIO stores, the test drive specialist will drive the vehicle to an open area before the user takes a test drive, and the test drive specialist will accompany the customer throughout the entire process and carry out reminders of some road conditions, Yicai said, citing a consumer.

NIO vehicle for test drive crashes into sidewalk, killing one, report says