China's NIO Causes Chaos After Smartcar Shuts Down on Highway

(Bloomberg) -- A driver in central Beijing found out the hard way that upgrading software on a smartcar in the middle of traffic isn’t such a good idea.

Potential customers test driving an electric vehicle made by Chinese startup NIO Inc. decided to download the latest operating system while on the road, triggering a shutdown of the car, Chinese media Caixin reported. The stall resulted in a traffic snarl on the city’s Chang’an Avenue, which passes between the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

NIO, in a statement posted on its Weibo account, apologized for the incident. It said errors made by those operating the vehicle resulted in the shutdown, adding the right time to upgrade the car is while parked in an appropriate place. However, it also said it will review its software for alerts to avoid such mistakes.

NIO was founded just four years ago and pulled off a U.S. initial public offering in September, three months after starting deliveries of its first electric model, the ES8 sport utility vehicle. The company may report about $420 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended in December, compared with Tesla Inc.’s $21.5 billion.

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