No conclusion while investigation into fire still goes on: Tesla

By Song Lin and Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/24 22:13:40

Tesla's Chinese Weibo account revealing the progress of a Model S self-ignition in a Shanghai neighborhood was besieged by complaints and mocking from Chinese web users and customers. 

"Tesla should be barred from entering garages just like Samsung Note 7s were banned from boarding," one person with the web name chulvsh wrote in a microblog on Wednesday.

"Please give an explanation to the old Tesla owners in China. We can endure water leakage, rough workmanship, random price cuts, worn tires. But now Tesla is threatening our safety with super-fast, self-burning speed. We can't endure that," another person with the web name Miu Hongyang wrote in a microblog on Monday.

According to Tesla's latest Weibo post on Wednesday, the investigation into reasons for the ignition, led by authoritative departments, is still going on, and no preliminary judgments or conclusions have been made yet. The explanation is the US carmaker's response to earlier media reports which said the preliminary test result of the Tesla Model S' suspected self-ignition in Shanghai Sunday was a battery short circuit.

"The vehicle has been transported to Tesla's 4S dealership under the supervision of the fire department, and experts are still working on the investigation," a person close to Tesla told the Global Times Wednesday.

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, tweeted on Tuesday that electric cars are much safer than internal-combustion engine cars and said the high public attention about the fire incident was because of double standards.

"It's not about double standards. Electric cars' fire incidents could be much worse than internal-combustion engine cars. The electric car's fire spreads faster, is hard to put out and would release poisonous gas," Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), told the Global Times Wednesday.

"Basically it is an isolated incident, and wouldn't have large impact on the development of new-energy vehicles. Meanwhile, Tesla should improve its transparency about the incident and let public to ease their concerns gradually," Cui said.

Safety concerns about electric cars have captured widespread attention across the country. 

 "I haven't driven my car since the news came out, and friends who have Tesla cars are talking about requesting safety inspections from dealerships or other related institutions," a Tesla owner surnamed Jiang in Beijing told Global Times Wednesday.

The self-ignition of a Tesla sedan happened Sunday night in an underground parking lot in Shanghai. The driver parked the car about half an hour earlier, Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News reported on Monday

Later, surveillance videos on social media showed that the car burst into flames around 8pm and burned two nearby cars.

Within 24 hours, Tesla's Chinese competitor NIO Inc had joined the topic, and NIO's Weibo confirmed that one of its ES8 sedans caught fire Monday in a service center in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

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