A Case of Role Reversal in the Maglev Project

China finds German workmanship shoddy after the Maglev fire, in The People’s Daily (China). (And why are battery cells catching fire everywhere?)

If China didn’t develop her Maglev technology, if the German Maglev train had not caught fire, how would the Sino-German Maglev project have resulted? Since the Maglev fire in Shanghai on August 11th, the train has remained there unmoved. By August 18th, the train was repaired then moved on to a maintenance station. The next day, Shanghai Maglev Development Company said that they had preliminarily examined the cause of the fire to be the battery cell provided by Germany. A Chinese expert working in the German Maglev project believed the reason for the fire to be the Shanghai climate since it is more humid there than in Germany. The battery cell has never caused a fire in Germany before. The accident where the Shanghai Maglev cable end was burned in 2003 was also attributed to the Shanghai’s humid weather and bad air quality.

When the accident took place two weeks ago, the German spokesman declared that the first step of investigation was focusing on the improper use of the battery cell. However they have not yet been able to draw any conclusions still. Three days later, the spokesman found the cause of the fire to be the battery cell.

“Why has Germany delayed the announcement about the cause of the fire? It may be more beneficial for them to do so.” A Chinese scientist who is working in the German transportation sector told reporter. “Now it is time for the Hu-Hang(Shanghai-Hangzhou) Maglev project to be completed, Germany is using a delaying strategy.”