- A Tesla Model 3 burst into flames in a Shanghai parking garage Tuesday, Chinese media reported.
- Tesla said it was likely caused by an impact to the car's underside, where the battery is located.
- Teslas have been known to catch fire after a crash and, occasionally, seemingly spontaneously.
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A Tesla Model 3 sedan caught fire in a Shanghai parking garage on Tuesday, Chinese media reported.
Nobody was injured in the blaze, Tesla's China office told local media, adding that it would cooperate with a fire department investigation and the owner's insurance company.
According to the driver's account and a preliminary examination of the car, the electric vehicle maker said the Model 3 likely caught fire after something damaged its undercarriage and battery, Chinese media reported.
According to the Xinmin Evening News, the Model 3 first caught fire as it entered the underground residential garage, The driver and a security guard at the community tried to put out the small fire with a fire extinguisher, but they eventually called the fire department after the fire spread, the outlet said.
Photos from the scene show that the incident destroyed the car, leaving behind a charred metal shell with no interior or windows.
Chinese EV battery supplier CATL told Chinese media that the Model 3 that burst into flames was not equipped with one if its batteries.
Tesla's vehicles have been known to catch fire in collisions or after an impact to the underside of the car, where the battery pack is located. Trauma to the battery pack can interfere with its cooling functions, causing it to overheat and ignite. But crashes also cause internal-combustion cars to burst into flames on a regular basis.
What's more unusual is that Teslas have also caught fire or exploded seemingly completely spontaneously - just sitting in a parking garage or on the side of the road.
In November, a Model S in Texas suddenly started shooting out flames "like a flamethrower," its owner told The Washington Post. In 2019, a Model S seemed to spontaneously combust in a Shanghai parking garage.
Incidents like these prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation in 2019 into what causes Teslas to catch fire.
But some experts - and Tesla itself - maintain that EVs are no more likely to burst into flames than gas-powered cars. Tesla did not respond to Insider's request for comment, but told Insider previously that it considers its cars to be much safer than others on the road.
"Tesla vehicles achieved the lowest probability of injury of any vehicles ever tested by U.S. government [NCAP] safety rating program," Tesla said in a statement in 2019, "and based on our fleet of over 500,000 electric cars, we know that a Tesla vehicle is approximately 10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car."