Sam Bird was running in fourth place on Lap 8 when he lost the rear of his car through the high speed Turn 6 and stopped in the middle of the track.
That part of the Rome circuit is relatively narrow and comes after a blind corner, so Bird was hit by Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa.
Buemi momentarily went on his side as Da Costa went underneath the Envision driver against the wall.
The biggest impact came when Edoarda Mortara hit the middle of Bird‘s car, while other drivers clipped or brushed the walls to avoid a multi-car pile-up.
“The most important thing is Sam is OK,” said Jaguar team principal James Barclay. He’s had a medical check-up. The other drivers seem to be OK as well. A very bad accident, nightmare scenario. Most importantly the car is strong and has protected the drivers.”
Envision boss Sylvian Filippi added: “He’s physically fine, extremely annoyed at the circumstances. It’s a really high-speed corner, a blind speed corner and they couldn’t do anything.
“We never like to see that. I’ve been in Formula E for nine years and the speeds have gone up a lot, these Gen3 cars are some of the fastest cars in the world. Thanks to the FIA and the survival cells, everyone is OK.”
Several other cars were damaged, including Stoffel Vandoorne. His DS Penske teammate Jean-Eric Vergne said “holy f**k, that was crazy” in reaction to the accident.
Race director Scot Elkins stopped the race immediately and all drivers walked away from the incident.
Only 14 drivers took to the restart with Bird, Mortara, Buemi, Da Costa, Lucas di Grassi, and Robin Frijns retiring. Andre Lotterer was already out of the race, while McLaren‘s Jake Hughes didn’t start the E-Prix after also crashing at Turn 6 in qualifying.