Just a few months after its last incident, Tesla once again finds itself literally under fire in China.
Another Tesla car has reportedly caught fire in China, this time in the middle of the night at a repair center in Hangzhou, according to local media reports. Neighbors reportedly called firefighters, who arrived to find black smoke coming from the repair shop and flames under the hood of a Tesla. An electricity meter box near the vehicle was also reportedly on fire.
The Chinese media reports didn’t say which Tesla vehicle caught fire, but electric transportation news site Electrek reported that it was a Model S.
We reached out to Tesla for comment but have not heard back. The car maker earlier responded to Electrek, saying that the repair shop is run by a third party and not an official Tesla service center. Tesla also claimed that the shop did not properly handle the car’s battery pack, which had previously sustained “significant water damage.”
But Tesla lists the shop where the incident happened on its official website as a service center in Hangzhou. And pictures of the shop appear to show that it’s a spray paint center that appears to be authorized by Tesla.
Since the beginning of 2019, there have been more than 40 incidents of electric vehicles catching fire in China, according to a report from Tsinghua University’s battery safety research lab. The report also says that more than 90% of battery incidents are caused by a short circuit.
Tesla has only been one of several different electric car makers with this problem. From April to June, at least five electric cars combusted in China, which included vehicles from major Chinese car makers BYD and Nio. Following an order from authorities for car makers to do safety checkups, Nio recalled nearly 5,000 cars in June. The company said its ES8 SUV battery pack had a design vulnerability that could cause a short circuit.
In the wake of all these incidents, the industry is now rolling out an evaluation system for electric cars based on the China Electric Vehicle Evaluation Procedure (CEVE), which was released this week.
The initiative was jointly started by four entities: China Automotive Engineering Research Institute, National Engineering Laboratory for Electric Vehicles, Tsinghua University’s battery safety research lab and the National Big Data Alliance of New Energy Vehicles.
The evaluation will test electric cars based on three criteria: Energy consumption, safety and experience. The results will be made public to inform consumers interested in purchasing an electric vehicle.
Results will be released twice a year, starting in December.