The Tesla Model S isn’t a stranger to unexpected fires. Road debris that punctures the underbody battery pack has been the cause of most Tesla vehicles fires. However, the Tesla that burst into flames in Shanghai, China on Sunday doesn’t seem to follow that model.
You can see in the video originally posted to Twitter, the first-generation Model S appears to randomly catch fire seconds after a large cloud of white smoke pours out from under the vehicle.
“Good or bad, negative or positive I will post anything about Tesla or EVs in China. This happened today in Shanghai, China,” @ShanghaiJayin tweeted along with the video.
The 2015 Model S was not charging at the time of the blaze. However, in an interview with China’s Xinmin Evening News, the owner revealed the car had been charged a few hours prior to the fire.
Tesla is reportedly investigating the fire. No matter what the company concludes caused the fire, it was poorly timed. News of the yet-unexplained fire coincided with Tesla’s Autonomous Day for its investors.
Even company CEO Elon Musk’s exciting prediction that Tesla would have over one million robotaxis on the road by next year could not keep the fire from having a negative effect on the company’s stock price, which dipped 4% on Monday.
Although Teslas are less likely to catch fire than internal combustion engine vehicles (10 times less likely, Tesla told KDKA), they pose a greater challenge to firefighters. Even Tesla admits that it can take as much as 3,000 gallons of water to extinguish a Tesla fire.