A video that seemingly shows a Tesla Model S catching fire in a Shanghai parking lot has been circulating on Chinese media since Sunday.
At the video’s start, smoke appears to billow out from beneath the car before it violently bursts into flames.
Tesla, already the subject of consumer safety lawsuits, says it’s investigating the incident, and that no one was harmed.
The video’s provenance is unknown, but was taken from a closed-circuit camera, according to Bloomberg. Twitter user @ShanghaiJayin also shared footage of what looks to be the fire’s aftermath, and told Motherboard that it was posted to a Shanghai Tesla WeChat group.
“After learning about the incident in Shanghai, we dispatched a team to the scene last night as soon as possible,” Tesla said in a statement on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. “We are actively liaising with the relevant departments and cooperating with the verification of the situation. According to the current information, there were no casualties.”
The car company is no stranger to spontaneously combusting vehicles. Last year, a Bay Area man’s Tesla Model S caught fire multiple times while in park mode. At the time, Tesla said it’s batteries “are designed so that in the rare circumstance a fire occurs, it spreads slowly so that occupants have plenty of time to get out of the car.”
The Model S itself has a history of fires, many caused by vehicle collisions, dating back to 2013. The parents of a Florida teenager who died when his Tesla S sedan crashed and caught fire in 2018 sued the company this year, claiming the car’s battery pack is fire-prone.
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Tesla hasn’t speculated about the cause of the Shanghai fire. But, as noted by Bloomberg, the safety of electric vehicles in China, many of which utilize high-density lithium batteries, is being scrutinized right now.
In 2018, there were at least 40 documented fire-related incidents involving new-energy vehicles, “a fleet that includes pure battery electric, hybrid plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not publicly commented on the incident. On Monday at 11 a.m. PT, the company will be livestreaming its plan for autonomous vehicle technology.