Tesla Model S Seems To Self-Combust While Sitting In A Parking Lot

Eerie footage that appears to show a Tesla Model S spontaneously combusting in an underground parking lot in Shanghai, China has emerged online.

The video, recently posted on Twitter, shows a white Model S parked alongside two Audis. At the start of the clip, smoke can be seen coming out from under the electric sedan. Just seconds later, there is a huge explosion which briefly blinds the security camera. When it starts displaying the video again, it shows flames engulfing the car and charring the cars next to it.

The Model S was totally destroyed by the blaze and the vehicles parked either side of it were also wrecked. More footage from inside the parking garage shows the remnants of the vehicles after local authorities finally extinguished the fire.

Very few details about the incident are known. However, unless some kind of incendiary device was placed under the Tesla, it looks like that the blaze started in the sedan’s battery pack and quickly spread. It’s also worth noting that the car wasn’t charging at the time, ruling out the possibility of a faulty charger starting the inferno.

Tesla is typically quite good when it comes to investigating incidents of its vehicles and recently confirmed that it is doing just that with this one too.

“After finding out about this incident in Shanghai, we immediately sent a team to the scene. We are currently contacting relevant departments to understand the situation. Based on current information, no one was hurt,” Tesla said in a statement.

  • Pedro Pereira

    Shame about the Audi next to it.

    • dumblikeyou2

      Basic AF Audi. No loss.

      • Ben

        ELON! Get off the computer, get back to saying nonsense on Twitter!

  • Aeromann

    What a wonderful car!

  • db

    Tesla is typically quite good when it comes to investigating incidents of its vehicles and recently confirmed that it is doing just that with this one too.
    I would hope they are pretty good at it, they get enough practice at it.
    If I did own a Tesla, I’d be damned if I would park it in my attached garage after seeing this clip.

    • Mr. EP9

      I’d bury one up to it’s wheel wells in sand. No way it can catch on fire now.

      • D3X

        Sadly, it’s battery chemical fire, so sand won’t do with stopping the combustion, and literally it’s like an explosion (remember the Note7 anyone?).

  • OdysseyTag

    Hoping like hell when EVs become more mainstream post-2021, incidents like these don’t become a regular occurrence.

    • Exotics

      This isn’t a regular occurrence. This is abnormal. A Tesla doesn’t just start smoking like that and then explodes. This video is very short. What happened before the car got there? How long was is there? Many questions.

      • FunctionForm

        This is a regular occurrence. It’s happened several times before and when these battery fires start, they can’t be put out.

  • TRB0T0Y

    I’m sure the two motorists next to the Tesla were overjoyed to see their cars destroyed through no fault of their own. I recall Tesla being quite enthusiastic in their other crashes/fires, saying ‘internal combustion cars very frequently burst in to flames resulting from a wreck.’
    Can they next say that regular cars also burst into flames from simply being parked? Doubtful.

    Note to Tesla- fix your battery issues / ‘Autopilot’ gimmick. The rest of us don’t need our cars destroyed or crashed into due to your slipshod technology.

    • D3X

      Biggest difference is that Internal combustion engines that do burst into flames actually take a long time to do so, and since most fuel tanks are in the rear trunk, the likelihood of being roasted like a BBQ chicken under your feet is low unless you’re trapped for a long period and the jaws-of-life are slow to arrive. Remove that Hollywood explosiion scenes from your head, those don’t actually happen in real-life. A battery that starts burning, basically ignites instantly while burning at a very high temperature(melting steel and plastic), spewing intense toxic fumes that probably kill you before the flames.

      It’s likely true that the chances of EV cars bursting into flames are probably lower, but if it does, be prepared to say your prayers if you’re in the EV.

      • TRB0T0Y

        Great episode! I can’t watch car chase/ shooting scenes without laughing. It is damn near impossible to get a fireball going, no matter how sharp your aim is at the tank.


      • TRB0T0Y

        It’s an option on certain track-focused Porches too. Certain racetracks require cars to be equipped with an on-board fire suppression device. Thus, proper track cars offer it as a factory option.


          • Ben

            To be fair, the fire extinguisher option on high performance vehicles is “cool” because typically, they are required at certain tracks. This gives the sense of truly being “track ready”. That’s why its seen as being cool. The same reason people think huge knobby tires on a Ford Raptor or Wrangler are cool even though they’ll just be going to Krogers just like everyone else. Its a sign of performance.

            It wouldn’t be “cool” to have a factory optioned extinguisher for a Tesla because they’re not sports cars. They’re quick, but not sports vehicles.

          • TRB0T0Y

            To their credit, that little Lotus mutant, the ingeniously named ‘Roadster’, was definitely a ‘sports vehicle’.
            (pretty much the only cool Tesla; the later ones are fast, but my friggen hedgeclippers make sexier noises).

            I think McLaren F1 owners are required to replace their extinguisher every few years, for a few hundred quid of course. Nice!

            We’ve all seen a couple Lambos self combust. How destructive would 3 or 4 Teslas be, if one burnt up and got ’em all sizzlin’? It could take dahn an entire gentrified block of $5k/month lofts!

      • D3X

        Fire extinguishers work for combustion based cars, but I don’t think the same extinguisher will work for an EV battery combustion with the battery module/energy source of the fuel. Rare or not, it’s not to bash Tesla, but scrutinize and analyze whether using an extremely volatile energy source, and difficult to stop, is a wise decision over other methods(like Fuel-Cell EVs for example).

  • lagunas3ca


  • Dylan Wentworth

    More good press for Tesla.

  • salamOOn

    “Tesla is typically quite good when it comes to investigating incidents of its vehicles”

    well, if they wanna keep selling any cars, they MUST to do it.


      • Ben

        They sell battery packs and hopefully in the future will provide advanced vehicle technology to other OEMs like Bosch does. But yes, they’re currently in the car business for the foreseeable future.

  • Six_Tymes

    imagine these intense fires occurring frequently when the world becomes filled with EV’s

    • I guess ICE Hyundais burning down by the hundreds does not bother you then…

      • Ben

        Its a balance. If you’re going to praise something for being economical, quick, futuristic and socially…cool, you also have to mention the downsides. Isn’t that fair? We don’t mention Hyundai’s failing because, sorry, they’re a dime a dozen. They’re not positioned to be the leader of automotive evolution as Tesla is. Tesla is held to a different standard than other OEMs because it self-admittedly is trying to set the gold standard.

        You wouldn’t blink if a average player in a large sports franchise missed a goal, but if it were the franchise star, such as a LeBron James per say, it would be heavily scrutinized. Why? Because he is held to a different standard because he’s supposed to be better. Nothing malicious about it.

    • Exotics

      I can’t. Because this wasn’t normal. Nor has this ever happened. Only speculation until it’s investigated, but this seems like it was set up.

      • FunctionForm

        It’s happened in Santa Barbara, Shanghai and Pittsburgh, while a Davie, Florida resident died in his Tesla that caught on fire after a crash. Tesla will be out of business before the end of the year with lawsuits. It’s the Corvair of our day.

  • designer_dick

    Things like this really make me concerned about the long-term durability of Tesla’s battery packs when they’re exposed to the new 250kw Superchargers.

    • Exotics

      This is not something that happens normally to any Tesla. This is suspicious.

      • FunctionForm

        It’s happened many times. There is an issue with these batteries but our global utopian dreams are being challenged.

  • Harry_Wild

    If car is under new the car warranty, just take it to Tesla Service Center for repair! LOL!

    • salamOOn

      i wonder if you would be still “LOL” if the car next to it would be yours.

      • Jarosław Kotowicz

        Everything will be paid from insurance

        • salamOOn

          yeah, but it wont pay for the time and problems for the other owners… i would be pretty p*ssed off.

      • lagunas3ca

        Uh, yeah, that’s how insurance works… “are you in good hands?”



  • Exotics

    Looks like a Hollywood car explosion. Suspicious. Investigation is necessary.

  • OUCH.

  • FunctionForm

    Hopefully we’ll hear from Tesla what truly happened??? I’d like an independent review.

  • TheBelltower

    What luck that there’s a camera right there to catch it all. With all the scams that the short sellers are engaged in these days, I don’t believe this for a second.

  • Bill Nguyen

    They sure that’s a legit Tesla Model S? You never know over there…

  • db

    Yikes, so maybe it isn’t just Tesla but an issue with all EVs?
    Now I’m starting to get a little worried about plugging in my iphone at night.

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