Imagine driving in a heavily trafficked Beijing, passing Tiananmen square when you get a notification that your sleek NIO electric car needs to upgrade. You click yes and then suddenly the entire car shuts down. The screen goes black, the doors lock, and the windows are shut. You’re locked in the car on a busy street.
This happened to a woman on Jan. 29, when she was stuck for over an hour.
Her story went viral on social media and netizens immediately started to criticize NIO’s upgrade system. The incident made headlines, but also caused many to question the future ES8 system and vehicle reliability.
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Readers expressed their concerns:
“The windows are shut and the door won’t open? Scary, what if it’s 40°C outside? After an hour you’d need to go to the hospital.”
“Is this what world-class intelligence is like? What if this happened on the high way?”
NIO said that the traffic jam and the fact that the driver made a series of mistakes caused the upgrade to start. The company added that they would optimize the upgrade confirmation and reminder logic.
In fact, the NIO upgrade system always reminds the driver before starting the upgrade. The vehicle needs to be in parking mode, to ensure that the vehicle power is not too low. The car also notifies you that the electronic equipment in the vehicle will be disabled during the upgrade process, that the screen will be turned off, and that the upgrade process needs about an hour to complete.
With this in mind, it seems that the driver must have somehow missed the upgrade notification or misclicked, hence causing the upgrade to start.
Nevertheless, the incident shows there is still room for improvement in NIO’s upgrading systems.
Many are questioning why the upgrade doesn’t require the car to be plugged into a power source, when even the Apple watch requires you to plug in your charger before upgrading. And for a car that can cause life-threatening accidents, this safety measure is more important.
Others feel that this is a design flaw. The driver might be distracted, such as maybe there was a baby crying and then the wrong button was accidentally pressed. You can’t expect the user to always act faultlessly.
These suggestions are not unreasonable. After all, smart electric vehicles need to be more intelligent and more user-friendly in terms of system design. Hopefully, NIO will solve the issue and prevent future incidents.
Featured photo credit to NIO