Tesla Looks into Apparent Explosion

I think we know by now that not everything we see on the internet is legit.

Electric carmaker Tesla is now being tasked with uncovering whether a video circulating on Chinese social media is the real deal. The clip is being widely shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, and appears to show security camera footage of a parking garage. A parked Tesla Model S inexplicably begins to smoke and then it explodes, destroying several adjacent vehicles in the aftermath.

Tesla told Reuters it had immediately dispatched a team to “establish the facts” but stressed that “no one was harmed” and that it would work with local authorities to understand the cause. Reuters said it was unable to verify the authenticity of the video.

Whatever the outcome of Tesla’s fact-finding mission, the automaker is already facing some negative consequences whether the video is real or not: company stock dipped about 2 percent in morning trading yesterday. Not to mention, after the video received 20 million hits within a day, Tesla quickly became the butt of many jokes in China.

But that lighthearted view might not be a bad thing. It supports what some analysts suggest: that this incident will be a blip for Tesla in the Chinese market.

Tesla has been followed by seemingly inflated fears of vehicle fire risk — likely because people are still cautious of the electrified nature of the car’s battery power source — but none of the previous incidents have made an impact on Tesla’s position in the Chinese market.

Anna Wells

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