Tesla Investigating Incident of Car Catching Fire in Shanghai

Tesla Inc. said it’s looking into a fire in Shanghai involving one of its vehicles after a video of a car bursting into flames was circulated on social media in China.

The U.S. electric-car maker has sent a team to Shanghai and is in touch with local authorities, Tesla said on its official Sina Weibo account Monday. As far as Tesla is aware, there are no casualties.

The video taken from a closed-circuit camera in the parking lot of a residential building showed a white sedan bearing Tesla’s logo emitting smoke from both sides of the car before catching fire Sunday evening. The incident could add to concern about the safety of electric vehicles using high energy density lithium batteries to extend driving ranges, as rapid expansion of China’s EV market pushed sales past 1 million units last year.

In 2018, China recorded at least 40 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. The Chinese regulator has called for scrutiny of new-energy vehicle quality and recalled more than 130,000 of these vehicles last year.

In September, a TV station in the eastern city of Hangzhou reported that a D2 electric car under the Zhidou brand part-owned by billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. burst into flames on the road. Separately, a plug-in hybrid SUV under BYD Co.’s Song brand caught fire while it was parked at the gate of Shanghai’s Hongqiao railway station last August, according to thepaper.cn.