This is a Tesla Model S catching fire in a Shanghai parking garage.
Teslas are known for making the news. Tesla founder Elon Musk said yesterday that there would be a million self-driving Teslas on the road by next year, which is a pretty astounding thing when you consider that there are less than half that many on the road currently and none of them can drive themselves.
And then, roughly around the same time, a Model S exploded in China.
The video footage is from an underground parking garage in Shanghai. The footage went viral on China’s Weibo social media network, and then it went viral to international social media from there.
We get a lot of details courtesy of Jay in Shanghai, a Twitter feed that helpfully translated the tidal wave of Chinese media reports and condensed them into some important details.
First, this is a first-gen Model S that caught fire roughly an hour after being parked in the underground parking garage. We know this from an interview between Chinese media and the Tesla’s owner. The car is used, roughly 3 years old, and has about 60,000 miles on it.
Good or bad, negative or positive I will post anything about Tesla or EVs in China. This happened today in Shanghai, China 🇨🇳 1st generation Tesla Model S caught Fire 🔥 underground car park.#Tesla #TeslaChina #ModelS #Fire #China #Shanghai #特斯拉 #中国 $TSLA pic.twitter.com/HOwMcvulV1— Jay in Shanghai (@ShanghaiJayin) April 21, 2019
The Model S was charged to roughly 350 km (217 miles) of range a few hours before it was parked.
Judging from where all the smoke and flames came pouring out of, it looks like the car’s battery ignited. That’s not good, as there’s a lot of toxic chemicals inside of those that really don’t interact well with a human’s lungs.
As you can see in the aftermath footage, the Model S is little more than a burnt-out husk, while the two cars that were next to it are so heavily damaged from the intense heat that they too are likely write-offs.
Aftermath hopefully we will hear from Tesla what truly happened. pic.twitter.com/DuFi0pW9dk— Jay in Shanghai (@ShanghaiJayin) April 21, 2019
The irony here is that Tesla is building Gigafactory 3 just a few miles outside of Shanghai. Having one of their premium cars explode in the downtown core is definitely not a good look for Tesla.
Tesla is cooperating with local authorities to figure out what happened. We’ll be sure to report once we get some idea of how the fire started.