NEVs still represent future of China's green development: researcher
A Tesla Model S allegedly ignited by itself in an underground parking lot in Shanghai on Sunday night, with Tesla management saying there were no casualties and they were cooperating with the investigation.
Parked in the basement of a compound in the East China municipality, the vehicle erupted into a ball of fire about 8 pm and burned nearby cars, Xinmin Evening News reported on Monday.
The car owner told the daily city newspaper that he was not in the car and that the car was not charged that night.
"I left the Tesla only 30 minutes before it burst into fire. I could not imagine what would have happened if I was still in the car during the emergency," the owner was quoted as saying. He was not fully named.
Firefighters were at first unable to enter the parking lot due to the pungent smoke, and could only pour water into the garage, the report said.
The fire was finally put out after about 80 minutes, according to Xinmin.
A surveillance video posted on Sina Weibo prompted users to express concerns about the safety of Tesla and new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China.
Tesla responded via its official Weibo account on Monday morning that there were no casualties reported so far and they were cooperating with the authorities.
Tesla has had other accidents involving alleged spontaneous combustion.
A Tesla Model S ignited in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, in March. The vehicle was also not charged and had had no previous crashes, the Beijing News reported.
Some 40 incidents have been recorded among China's 2.6 million NEVs in 2018.
Electrical wiring and electric battery incidents were reported with hybrid plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation of China.
Tesla combustion issues have also been reported in the U.S.
In Florida, a day after a Tesla owner was killed in a fiery crash, local emergency officials contended over the car's damaged lithium-ion battery pack repeatedly reigniting while sitting in a towing yard.
The emergency showed that the technology of lithium-ion batteries still needs improvement, but there was no clear evidence suggesting NEVs were any more dangerous than traditional gasoline-powered cars, Li Yi, a senior research fellow at the Internet Research Center affiliated to the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.
"This accident cannot represent the booming industry of NEVs, and NEVs will still be the future of China's green development in terms of emissions reductions, and clean and sustainable energy," Li said.