The video, which was filmed just after 8:15 pm local time on April 21, appears to show a Tesla Model S sedan. It was posted on Chinese social media a couple of hours later and has since been shared widely.
“We immediately sent a team on-site and we’re supporting local authorities to establish the facts. From what we know now, no one was harmed,” a Tesla spokesperson told CNN Business on Monday.
The clip attracted a mix of derision and outrage on Weibo. “Us car owners demand an explanation,” wrote user Miao Hongyang. “Jeopardizing our safety in a moment’s instant and the fact it ignited so quickly is something we will not tolerate.”
Another Weibo user registered under the name Your Dad, added: “One thing I’ve learned from this incident: from now on, don’t ever park next to a Tesla.”
China is huge for Tesla
“It seems strange that the battery, not charging, would combust on its own,” said Tu Le, founder of consultant firm Sino Auto Insights.
Tesla has previously said that gasoline-powered cars are 10 times more likely to catch fire than those powered by electric batteries.
China is a hugely important market for Tesla. The country accounts for about 20% of the company’s annual revenues, or more than $2 billion in sales. But its share of this market is still tiny.
Don Giolzetti contributed to this report.