The video of a parked Tesla Model S exploding into a ball of fire in a Shanghai garage has gone viral online. According to a Reuters news report, Tesla has sent a team to China to investigate the video posted and shared on Chinese social media showing a parked Tesla emitting smoke at first and then, within seconds, igniting and being consumed by flames.
Cause for Concern
The video has been widely shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. “Tesla self-ignites” was one of the popular hashtags on Weibo on March 22 racking up more than 20 million clicks. Some users urged Tesla to quickly determine the cause while some said they would never park their vehicle near a Tesla. A video of the aftermath showed a line of three cars completely destroyed.
The cause of the explosion and fire could not be ascertained from the videos. Tesla has confirmed that no one was injured in this incident. What is extremely concerning about this video is the fact that there have been at least 14 instances of Tesla cars catching fire since 2013 with the majority occurring after a crash. This fire comes at a time when Tesla is trying to ramp up sales in China.
Tesla Investigations Stateside
Last month, in the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they were investigating two Tesla crashes in Florida. One involved a fatal Tesla Model S crash in Davie, Fla. that killed the driver and caused a massive fire. The other was in Delray Beach where a 2018 Model 3 crashed into a semi-trailer. Also, 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. Tesla has also come under scrutiny for a number of crashes where the Autopilot or semi-autonomous driving feature was engaged.
There is no question that the video of the most recent fire in Shanghai, if authentic, raises a number of concerns about the vehicle’s safety. It is important to determine what caused the fire, especially if it was due to a vehicle defect or design issue. If your injuries were caused by a defective auto, please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.