Published: Tue, April 23, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Tesla investigating incident of auto catching fire in China

Tesla investigating incident of auto catching fire in China

Tesla is investigating an incident in Shanghai where one of its cars apparently burst into flames while parked - and NIO Inc., its electric-vehicle competitor in China, is now doing the same.

At present all Tesla cars sold in China are imported from the U.S., and are subject to heavy tariffs as part of the simmering trade war between the two economic superpowers.

The user who posted the video originally on Chinese social media said the explosion took place in Shanghai, and the time stamp on the video says the explosion took place at 8:15 p.m. local time. The cause of the explosion could not be immediately ascertained from the videos.

"After learning about the accident that occurred in Shanghai, we sent the team to the scene last night", Tesla wrote (according to a Google translation). "From what we know now, no one was harmed".

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It declined comment further when contacted by Reuters.

The company now imports all the cars it sells in China, but it is in the process of building a factory in Shanghai that will manufacture Model 3 cars in the initial phase and help it minimize the impact of the trade war and tariffs.

Tesla neither confirmed nor denied the incident, but it said it sent a team in to investigate. News of the car's spontaneous combustion spread on social media, complete with CCTV footage from the parking garage. Smoke suddenly appears from underneath the electric vehicle. Still more found humour in the situation.

In a separate, unrelated incident, Tesla's rival in China, Nio, said in a social media post that an ES8 electric sport utility vehicle caught fire on Monday in a Nio service centre in the central city of Xian while under fix. I suspect the vehicle may have been damaged in some way before it was parked, but even so, no damage should result in a battery exploding.

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