Tesla investigating video appearing to show Model S bursting into flames – National


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SHANGHAI – Video of a parked Tesla Inc Mannequin S exploding and a Wall Road downgrade of the electrical carmaker’s inventory pushed shares down four per cent on Monday, because it ready to difficulty outcomes for a troubled first quarter.

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Brokerage Evercore minimize its suggestion on shares of the Silicon Valley firm to “promote,” changing into the twelfth brokerage to ask buyers to desert billionaire Elon Musk’s enterprise and elevating bearish sentiment to its highest ever.

Musk and Tesla have confronted a spread of challenges over the previous 12 months as one of many leaders in electrical car expertise sought to ramp up manufacturing, deliveries and gross sales of the Mannequin three sedan seen as essential to its long-term profitability.

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The corporate, which is scuffling with deliveries of its higher-priced Mannequin S and X luxurious vehicles, mentioned it has despatched a group to analyze the video on Chinese language social media apparently exhibiting the most recent in a string of fires involving its vehicles.

The video, time-stamped Sunday night and extensively shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, reveals the parked car emitting smoke and bursting into flames seconds later.

A video purportedly of the aftermath confirmed a line of three vehicles fully destroyed.

Reuters was not instantly in a position to confirm the origins of the video, which Weibo customers mentioned was taken in Shanghai.

The reason for the explosion couldn’t be instantly ascertained from the movies.

“We instantly despatched a group onsite and we’re supporting native authorities to determine the information. From what we all know now, nobody was harmed,” Tesla mentioned in a press release.

It declined to remark additional when contacted by Reuters.

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There have been at the very least 14 cases of Tesla vehicles catching hearth since 2013, with the bulk occurring after a crash.

“The automobile hearth is simply one other knowledge level of continued difficulties,” Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin wrote in an electronic mail. “Not lots of excellent news for Tesla as of late.”

Tesla will report its first-quarter outcomes on Wednesday and had flagged in February that it expects to put up a loss because it launched a less expensive $35,000 Mannequin three sedan.

“We stay inspired by Tesla’s imaginative and prescient and future progress prospects, however there’s elevated uncertainty round near-term demand versus earlier bullish forecasts and progress can not stall for a progress firm,” Evercore analysts wrote of their be aware downgrading the shares.

The change meant 38.7 % of analysts now have a promote score on Tesla, topping the earlier document of 36.eight % in November, 2016.


The most recent hearth incident comes as Tesla tries to push gross sales in China, the place its costs have been impacted by tit-for-tat tariffs imposed throughout Sino-U.S. commerce tensions final 12 months.

The automaker at the moment imports all of the vehicles it sells in China, however is constructing a manufacturing unit in Shanghai that may initially make its Mannequin three and assist cut back the hit of a commerce struggle.

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In March, Tesla was additionally on the receiving finish of a labeling mix-up at Shanghai customs that led to a short lived suspension of clearance for a batch of Mannequin three vehicles.

Analysts mentioned the most recent hearth incident would possible enhance consideration on the security of EVs, however was unlikely to have a major affect on Tesla’s gross sales or status in China whereas the trigger was being investigated.

“Tesla had hearth incidents earlier than, however they didn’t have a big effect on its status in China,” mentioned analyst Alan Kang at LMC Automotive.

“Since its client base just isn’t significantly conservative, and China is pushing the electrical car market, if this incident is simply unintentional, it is not going to have a big effect on Tesla,” he mentioned.

“Tesla self-ignites” was probably the most well-liked hashtags on Weibo on Monday, racking up over 20 million clicks. Some customers urged the automaker to rapidly discover the trigger, whereas others speculated over the affect to the worth of Tesla vehicles at the moment on the highway. Nonetheless extra discovered humor within the state of affairs.

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“One lesson I learnt from the Shanghai self-exploding Tesla: Don’t park your automobile subsequent to a Tesla,” mentioned one commentator.

The corporate is predicted to host an Autonomy Day later at its headquarters in Palo Alto, specializing in its autonomous driving system.

In a separate, unrelated incident, Tesla’s rival in China, Nio, mentioned in a social media put up that an ES8 electrical sport utility car caught hearth on Monday in a Nio service middle within the central metropolis of Xian whereas underneath restore.

“Nio has launched an investigation to find out the reason for the hearth,” Nio mentioned, including nobody was harmed because of the incident.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Yilei Solar in Shanghai, Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Modifying by Christopher Cushing, Himani Sarkar and Bernard Orr)

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