A Tesla Model 3 exploded in a residential parking garage in Shanghai on Tuesday, according to Chinese media.
The explosion was probably caused by the battery pack being damaged by impact to the car's underside, according to a statement by Tesla's Chinese operations, as quoted by media outlet Yicai adding that an investigation had ascertained that no one was injured in the incident.
Despite being the best-selling electric vehicle in China, Tesla has been involved in several controversial incidents, some of which have proved fatal.
This is not the first time Tesla vehicles have burst into flames in China: back in 2019, CCTV first spotted smoke rising from what looked like a parked Tesla Model S, and then showed it going up in flames. Tesla responded to the incident immediately and sent a team to investigate the matter.
In June 2020, a Tesla car, driven by a 51-year-old woman, crashed into several vehicles and hit pedestrians. The accident left two people dead and six injured. Although it was claimed that the car had gone out of control, Tesla denied these allegations and said in a statement that no signs were detected of the vehicle malfunctioning.
Tesla in China
Elon Musk's Tesla has been operating in the world’s biggest car market, China, since 2018. Increasing how many electric vehicles are on the road is a priority for Beijing. Apart from investing in electric car infrastructure and production, the authorities have introduced certain incentives such as raising fees for those who own petrol-run cars and exempting those with electric cars from paying the license plate fee.
For decades China ordered foreign car producers to collaborate with local manufacturers and create joint-venture companies, so that Chinese companies could gain information on new technologies.
Elon Musk’s company was an exception: not only did the Chinese government allow Tesla a strong presence in Shanghai - where it established the independently operated Tesla Giga Shanghai factory which produced more than 350,000 vehicles early - it also authorised local banks to lend money to Tesla at a lower rate and on a non-recourse basis.