The cutting edge image of Chinese electric car builder Nio was blunted a little after a test drive of one of its smart cars ground to a halt on one of Beijing’s most prestigious addresses, leaving the driver and a Nio rep stuck inside until the vehicle completed a software update. Nio, which markets itself as a challenger to Tesla, confirmed the incident on its Weibo account on Tuesday, claiming the driver “accidentally made a series of operations that activated the system update” during a traffic jam on Changan Avenue. The car “went dark to start a system [update] that lasted more than an hour”, according to a message with a screenshot posted by the Nio employee on social media. It was not clear when the incident took place as the screenshot did not show the time. The 3.8km (2.4 mile) long Changan Avenue, which passes some of China’s most important government and Communist Party addresses, is heavily policed. It also abuts Tiananmen Square, home to the National People’s Congress, China’s central bank, and Zhongnanhai, the party’s central headquarters. Beijing raises bar for electric car start-ups as it fights overcapacity Traffic regulations ban left turns at intersections along Changan Avenue, and empty taxies are prohibited. It is also subject to frequent traffic control measures as motorcades pass through to diplomatic and political events. “So there we were, parked in Changan Avenue, motionless yet bold as brass. Police officers came, one group after another, yet we could not even wind the window down,” the Nio rep’s Weibo post said. The company said: “We apologised for affecting the traffic and we will optimise the upgrade confirmation logic.” The incident prompted amusement online, while a heated debate raged about who was to blame and whether the car’s design had failed to factor in human error. “If this is what a smart looks like, I’d rather not to be smart,” one Weibo user wrote. “This is very serious,” another said. “Any relevant staff such as an engineer or project manager with awareness of customer experience would have prevented this. There should never been a system upgrade reminder when driving and it is normal for ordinary users not to understand the reminder.” China’s Tesla challenger Nio ‘not worried’ by tariff cuts Others were sympathetic towards Nio and blamed the driver for not following procedure. One claimed five steps and two confirmations were need for the software upgrade to start. “What does the maker need to do for everyone to be satisfied?” the user asked. Shanghai-based Nio was formed four years ago and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September. Its founder, Li Bin, had promised to deliver 10,000 cars to customers by the end of 2018, closing the gap with Tesla’s sales in China, where the US company has been struggling under trade war tariffs.