A short surveillance video posted on China’s Weibo (WB) social media platform has many scratching their heads, and Tesla launching an investigation. It showed smoking coming from what seems like a white (Tesla) car, located in a Shanghai sparking lot. After some moments, the electric vehicle (EV) burst into flames, where the clip ends shortly after.
The video was filmed on April 21st, 8:15 local time, and seems to feature the Model S sedan from Tesla, parked and at a stand-still. The video hit Chinese social media some hours later, and has been shared a fair amount since.
CNN advised that Tesla did not confirm anything; however, they have launched an investigation along with authorities in China. An on-site team was sent to Shanghai and the company is working with local officials. The only thing that is known right now is that no one was harmed during the car explosion.
While this might not be the first time a Tesla EV has been seen bursting into flames, it is the first time this has happened while parked, as past incidents have involved moving cars. Tesla has noted previously that gas-powered vehicles are 10 times likelier to burst into flames than those vehicles powered by batteries.
Having said that, China is a vital market for the company, accounting for approximately 20 percent of Tesla’s yearly revenues, which equals out to about $2 billion in sales. They also had plans for a new factory in Shanghai to help boost sales, hoping to manufacture 500,000 EVs from the plant, yearly; however, the company is also struggling with China’s slowdown in their economy, which has affected other foreign brands like Ford and GM. Additionally, import tariffs imposed by the country’s trade war with America have also caused the company’s prices to fluctuate in China, quite a bit.
Here’s hoping Tesla and officials in China can come to some sort of conclusion regarding this recent incident.