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Reuters/Jason Reed
Igniting concerns.
FLARING UP

Another parked Tesla Model S burst into flames in China

By Echo Huang

Less than a month after a parked Tesla exploded in Shanghai, another Model S has caught fire, this time in a Hong Kong car park.

Local newspaper Apple Daily reported (link in Chinese) that the vehicle began to emit smoke and burst into flames about half an hour after it was parked, and three explosions were heard. The incident happened on Sunday (May 12). It took about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire.

The car’s owner, surnamed Pang, said he had charged the car at a Tesla Supercharger station that afternoon before parking it at the apartment complex he lives in. The car wasn’t charging while it was parked. A security guard called firefighters when he saw smoke coming out of the car, and a sprinkler helped contain the fire, Pang told the newspaper. There were no causalities.

Tesla said that it’s still investigating the cause of the incident and that it’s begun rolling out an over-the-air software update to revise charging and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles to “help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” a Tesla spokesperson said.

Tesla’s founder Elon Musk said after a parked Model S exploded in Shanghai in April that electric cars are over 500% less likely to catch fire than combustion-engine-powered ones.

The incident comes as Tesla is expecting to complete the first entirely foreign-owned car plant in China. But concerns of battery safety are on the rise following a string of incidents involving electric cars catching fire in the country, the world’s largest market for new-energy vehicles.

Update, May 17th: The article has been updated with a statement from Tesla.

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