Tesla Car Spontaneously Combusts, Footage Shows

April 22, 2019 Updated: September 7, 2019

A Tesla parked in an underground garage in China suddenly caught on fire, security camera footage shows.

The fire started at about 8:15 pm on April 21 in the city of Shanghai. No one was injured in the fire.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Chinese state-run media The Paper. Two other cars were also damaged in the fire, and the total cost of the damage is unknown.

Police are investigating the incident, the outlet reported.

Electric Car Fire

Tesla Model S
A Model S by US electric car maker Tesla. (ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

The video shows a line of four cars, with what appears to be a Tesla Model S on the far left-hand-side. Smoke begins flowing out of both the left and right sides of the vehicle.

“You can see that,” a voice says in the video. Several other men’s voices agree that they can see the smoke.

The smoke then billows out from under the front of the car before a flash suddenly blinds the camera, and the car bursts into flames.

Major damage was done to the Tesla, while the Audi and Lexus parked beside it also sustained varying degrees of unspecified damage.

Later in the video, several men, speaking in Mandarin and Shanghainese, can be heard analyzing how the fire started.

China’s Car Troubles

The footage, which was shared on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, garnered a raft of comments, many of which made jokes at the electric car company’s expense.

One commenter referenced a series scandals relating to cars sold in China by several leading car manufacturers.

Weibo user “History Knowledge bot” wrote, “Can one still buy this car brand now? BMW will bring tears, Benz will leak oil, Audi will give cancer, Tesla will spontaneously combust.”

The reference to the BMW bringing tears relates to a comment made by a female contestant on China’s hugely popular dating show If You Are the One. Showing her deep concern for her potential partner’s income, the contestant made a comparison that she’d rather be crying in the back of a BMW than laughing on the back of a bicycle. That is, she would rather have a rich and unhappy life, than a poor and happy life.

Recently, a complaint about a Mercedes Benz that allegedly leaked oil went viral on Chinese social media. A woman bought a Benz and found it was leaking oil on the showroom floor, according to multiple Chinese media reports.

However, the Mercedes shop would not refund her car. Feeling wronged, the woman recorded herself sitting on top of a new Benz in the showroom, saying she would not get down until receiving proper service. The video went viral and has been imitated by many frustrated car owners.

In early March, an article went viral on Chinese social media, alleging that six leukemia patients contracted the disease only after “they all bought [Chinese-made] Audis.” The article was allegedly written by the families of those patients.

Since then, more than 3,000 Audi owners have reportedly come forward, saying that they also developed health conditions from toxic parts used in their cars. The cars were manufactured in China.