Trail EV accident: Pravaig deeply saddened; driver says was forced to speed
- Pravaig Dynamics said it is working with the investigating agencies to make more details available about the accident.
A day after four people, including two forest rangers, died and a woman warden went missing after their trial EV met with an accident in Uttarakhand's Rajaji Tiger Reserve, electric vehicle startup Pravaig Dynamics on Tuesday said it is working with the investigating agencies to make more details available.
While the Bengaluru-based company, in a press statement, said it was deeply saddened by the accident, which occurred during a demonstration of the vehicle, the driver separately stated forest officials forced him to overload and speed up during the trial of the all-terrain electric SUV.
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Ashbin Biju, BE Mechanical Engineer, who was driving the vehicle in a statement said he was neither inebriated nor tired.
The first test drive, approved by the Forest Department of Uttarakhand, happened on Monday morning without any incident but in the second round of demonstration in the afternoon, forest officials forced him to take 9 personnel (a total of 10 including the driver) against the seating capacity of eight (including driver), according to his statement.
"The ranger standing at the rear of the vehicle ordered me to go to the Chilla Dam road... and asked me to go to other off-road obstacles as part of the demonstration," he said, adding they asked him to "accelerate" despite "my repeated requests to not go outside the planned range".
"I refused to comply 2-3 times and did not accelerate the speed beyond 30-40 (kmph)," he said, adding he "succumbed" to the pressures from the other officer and "gave a little acceleration burst".
"As it is an electric vehicle the acceleration is fairly high, and it reached a speed of 70 kmph in a fraction of a second," he said. "Due to loose, unstable roads with mud and dangerous rocks, the tyre burst and the vehicle lost control from the rear and hit a tree sideways before colliding with the high speed into the embankment wall between the road and river."
He said he did not remember what happened after that.
The driver and the co-passenger in the front, who wore their seat belts, survived the accident, while the rangers and others who were standing in the rear of the vehicle were thrown off and either died or were seriously injured.
"We are deeply saddened to report a tragic incident involving a vehicle that was under demonstration via our distributor, one where they were conducting an authorised trial run in Rajaji National Park with the Forest Department of Uttarakhand.
"We have received reports of the accident and the subsequent casualties leading from a tyre burst," the company said, adding it was "working with investigating agencies and distributors to adi and make more details available".