FAKE NEWS: A BYD did NOT explode in a Sydney Westfield today as reported by 9 News

    This afternoon, 9 News posted incorrect information about an electric vehicle. The ‘breaking news’ post from 9 News stated that emergency services were called to an incident at Liverpool Westfield in Sydney’s west. They went on to say that it is understood an explosion had occurred while the car was charging, causing it to reverse through the entrance of a Myer store and into a cosmetics counter.

    Obviously knowing a little bit about Electric Vehicles, this sounded incredibly unlikely (impossible) so I decided to investigate. I tracked down a phone number for the Myer store (in the Liverpool Westfield Shopping Center) and asked if they could confirm if there was an explosion.

    As expected, they confirmed, there was no explosion.

    It’s sad to see a news organisation like 9 News distribute misinformation about any topic, particularly electric vehicles. Their Facebook page has 3.1 Million followers and at the time of enquiry, the post had more than 1,400 likes and 628 comments.

    Not surprisingly many of the commentators believed the report at face value and ran with it as an opportunity to bash electric cars. Below are just some of them.

    • ‘Build your Dreams. Watch it go up in flames’
    • ‘The future is here (fire emoji)’
    • ‘Until they sort stuff like this out I’m staying right away’
    • ‘Watch this space. I can see a recall coming…’
    • ‘Sad, fire bucket on wheels.’

    When you stop for a minute and think critically about the claim that an explosion had happened, we know that lithium-ion batteries don’t explode, in rare circumstances, they may catch fire and require a lot of water to extinguish, however, BYD particularly is not a great target for this criticism, having shown the robustness of their blade-style battery, demonstrating a direct puncture still not resulting in the ignition.

    Imagine the worst happened, how that would initiate the car to reverse is beyond comprehension, particularly as these cars can not move into drive or reverse while charging is taking place (or the charging cable is connected).

    Given this could have a negative impact on sales of BYD, I hope they push 9 News for a formal apology.

    As is often the case, this story was not true.

    7 News has some further details on what actually happened, reporting that two people have been hit by a display car at a shopping centre in Sydney’s west.

    They go on to explain that a teenager was sitting inside the car when it lurched forward and smashed into a glass panel, before reversing into a Myer department store, hitting two people.

    This is obviously tragic for the two people injured in the incident, but clearly indicates that the incident was one of human error. Naturally, there are plenty of questions that will come from this, like how the teenager was allowed to enter the car in the first place.

    Even if the vehicle was unlocked, the keyfob would need to be inside the vehicle for the vehicle to start. Why anyone would put the vehicle into drive or reverse and push the accelerator in a busy shopping center, is another question entirely.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


    1. Channel 9 and 7 are part of the right wing media now like sky news.

      The most stupid repeated news story on both 7 and 9 is hospital ramping of Ambulances. They seem to be too stupid to realise that every hospital bed is taken by a patient and that’s why ramping occurs, but it’s all about ouraging the public not quality investigative journalism with fact checking anymore and why I watch News 24 on tge ABC.

    2. I was there today and saw it happen. The people in charge of the display were desperately trying to remove the driver and to stop the vehicle’s progress backwards. Security and police were on the scene very quickly. I’m hoping the injured parties are okay.

    3. Saw a BYD on exhibition at West Lakes Mall yesterday. All four doors were wide open so that people could try the car out. No idea if the keys were in it. However, the lad looking after the exhibit spent his time on his mobile phone and barely paid attention to the car; at least while I was watching.

    4. Rather than saying they’re anti-EV we really should be calling this blatant lying what it is, pro-oil. It’s the same shameful behaviour we’ve seen in the past, from people saying smoking isn’t unhealthy to that one man who kept telling everyone that lead in petrol was bad for humans.

    5. You have the same problem with spreadsheet misinformation. It’s not clear it’s a human error. We don’t know how the car was put in drive mode. Could be a misplaced key or a bug in the car management software.

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