Tesla bursts into flames, prompting investigation by electric car firm

CCTV footage of parked Model S appears to show it catch fire and explode in Shanghai, China

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 22 April 2019 12:21
CCTV captures Tesla Model S bursting into flames in Shanghai, China

Tesla has sent a team of investigators to China after a video emerged appearing to show one of its electric cars bursting into flames.

Smoke billows from beneath a parked Model S in Shanghai, before flames appear and the vehicle appears to explode. CCTV footage of the incident was posted on Chinese social media.

"After learning about the incident in Shanghai, we immediately sent the team to the scene last night," Tesla said in a statement shared on the social media platform Weibo. "From what we know now, no one was harmed."

The firm did not provide further comment when contacted by The Independent.

It is not the first time there have been reports of malfunctioning Tesla vehicles. A similar incident recorded in Los Angeles last June.

At the time, the carmaker said it was an "extraordinarily unusual occurrence" and that once again no one had been injured.

"Our initial investigation shows that the cabin of the vehicle was totally unaffected by the fire due to our battery architecture, which is designed to protect the cabin in the very rare event that a battery fire occurs," a spokesperson said at the time.

"While our customer had time to safely exit the car, we are working to understand the cause of the fire."

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has previously criticised media coverage of malfunctioning vehicles, claiming the safety record of the electric vehicles is far better than that of conventional vehicles.

His company's most recent vehicle, the Model 3, recently received a perfect five-star safety rating from the US National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Tesla has also suggested in a recent blog post that the "Model 3 achieves the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA" that the car was "the safest car ever built".

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