10 October 2019 17:34
Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust. Image copyright Getty Images Tesla said it is investigating a video on Chinese social media that appears to show one of its vehicles bursting into flames in Shanghai. In a statement, the carmaker said it had sent a team to investigate the matter, and that there were no reported casualties. The video, which has not been verified by the BBC, showed a stationary car erupting into flames in a parking lot.
Tesla did not confirm the car model but social media identified it as Model S. "After learning about the incident in Shanghai, we immediately sent the team to the scene last night," according to a translation of a Tesla statement posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo. "We are actively contacting relevant departments and supporting the verification. According to current information, there are no casualties." The video showed smoke rising from a parked, white vehicle and seconds later it bursts into flames. The time stamp on the video shows the incident happened on Sunday night, local time (Sunday morning GMT).
The video, time stamped Sunday evening and widely shared on China's Twitter-like Weibo, shows the parked EV emit smoke and burst into flames seconds later. A video purportedly of the aftermath showed a line of three cars completely destroyed. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the origins of the videos, which Weibo users said were taken in Shanghai. The cause of the explosion could not be immediately ascertained from the videos. "We immediately sent a team onsite and we're supporting local authorities to establish the facts.
REPUTATION The incident comes as Tesla tries to push sales in China, where its prices were impacted by tit-for-tat tariffs imposed during Sino-U.S. trade tensions last year. The automaker currently imports all the cars it sells in China, but is building a factory in Shanghai that will initially make its Model 3 and help reduce the impact of a trade war. In March, Tesla was also on the receiving end of a labeling mix-up at Shanghai customs resulting in clearance for a batch of Model 3 cars being temporarily suspended. Analysts said the latest fire incident would likely increase attention on the safety of electric vehicles but was unlikely to have a significant impact on Tesla's sales or reputation in China while the cause was being investigated. "Tesla had fire incidents before, but they didn't have a big impact on its reputation in China," said analyst Alan Kang at LMC Automotive. "Since its consumer base is not particularly conservative, and China is pushing the electric vehicle market, if this incident is just accidental, it will not have a big impact on Tesla," he said. "Tesla self-ignites" was one of the most popular hashtags on Weibo on Monday, racking up over 20 million clicks. Some users urged the automaker to quickly find the cause, whereas others speculated over the impact to the value of Tesla cars currently on the road. Still more found humor in the situation. "One lesson I learnt from the Shanghai self-exploding Tesla: Don't park your car next to a Tesla," said one commentator. (Reporting by Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun; Editing by Michael Perry and Christopher Cushing) (ECNS)--U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla said on Monday that it had sent a team to investigate the fire of a Tesla in Shanghai. The Tesla vehicle burst into flames after spewing smoke in an underground garage in Xuhui District's Taide Garden community at about 8 p.m. on Sunday. The fire also affected other vehicles parked nearby. Local residents in the high-rise were evacuated following the fire. Due to the strong smell, firefighters were blocked from entering the garage to contain the fire for a while, and all they could do was spray water inside. A video with the hashtag "Tesla self-ignites" was widely shared on China's Twitter-like Weibo. In a statement on Weibo, Tesla said, "We are currently contacting relevant departments to understand the situation. Based on current information, no one was hurt." In February, a driver of a 2016 Tesla Model S was killed when the vehicle lost control, struck a tree, and burst into flames in Florida. In response at the time, Tesla said that high-speed collisions can result in fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles. In March, a Tesla Model 3 owner died in a tragic collision with a semi truck. A worker installs the logo of Tesla during the 2nd China Shanghai International Technology Fair (CSITF) in east China's Shanghai, April 24, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua] US auto giant Tesla said on April 22 that no one was hurt in a vehicle self-ignition accident at an underground garage in Shanghai and it has sent a team to the scene. According to the Xinmin Evening News, the self-ignition of a white Tesla sedan took place at about 8 pm on April 21 at a community garage in Shanghai's Xuhui district, where residents living in the apartment building were evacuated following the accident. Footage caught on a surveillance camera showed that thick smoke rose from the car, followed by huge flames. Cars parked nearby were also damaged. Due to the irritating odor, firefighters closed the entrance of the garage to spray water before going inside to clear out the fire. Tesla said on its official micro blog that it has alerted related agencies and was cooperative in verifying the incident.