Tesla investigates after video allegedly shows Model S car exploding in China

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After video surfaced of a Tesla Model S smoking before catching fire, the electric-car maker has dispatched investigators to China where the incident occurred.

The security camera footage has become on the hottest topics on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform since it was posted on Sunday, now viewed 22 million times with the hashtag "Tesla self-ignites".

The viral video appears to show gases escaping from the battery module before it bursts into flames, shooting fire out from beneath the front and sides of the vehicle. Import tariffs resulting from the trade war with the United States have seen Tesla prices in China fluctuate wildly.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the origins of the videos, which Weibo users said were taken in Shanghai. "From what we know now, no one was harmed".

As CNN reports, the incident was recorded by a security camera as the Model S sat parked and not charging in a vehicle park. "Us vehicle owners demand an explanation", wrote user Miao Hongyang.

The user tweeted "Good or bad, negative or positive I will post anything about Tesla or EVs in China".

The automaker now imports all the cars it sells in China, but is building a factory in Shanghai that will initially make its Model 3 and help reduce the hit of a trade war.

In March, a labeling mistake forced customs officers in Shanghai to suspend clearance for Tesla cars. Some users urged the automaker to quickly find the cause, whereas others speculated over the impact to the value of Tesla cars now on the road. The rest saw parked Tesla set on fire by their batteries. Both companies are investigating the cause of the fires.

According to news agency Bloomberg, there were at least 40 fire-related incidents in China in 2018 involving "new-energy" vehicles, which includes electrics, plug-in hybrids, and fuel-cell vehicles.

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