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Model 3 caught fire in china garage [after hitting a manhole cover]


Oct 23, 2018
Wondering if the battery management system is able to determine if cells are damaged in an impact. Would that not manifest as that group of cells showing some difference in voltage or no readings?


Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
Riverside Co. CA
(moderator note: edited thread title to better reflect what was reported.)

In case anyone is curious what the original thread title was, it was "Tesla explodes in china". Since it did not "explode" but "caught fire, after hitting a manhole cover and damaging the battery" I felt the original thread title was misleading.

I realize (before someone points it out) that the original thread title was basically just lifted from that article, but that article title is definitely a clickbait title designed to drive clicks to their site (because "tesla, fire" drives clicks, regardless of the circumstance).


Active Member
May 28, 2019
Vernon, BC, Canada
Interestingly, following the source to the Chinese website does show the original source as saying "The poster claimed that a Tesla Model 3 caught fire in an underground garage in the lush garden community in Minhang District, Shanghai, and there was an explosion".

It's entirely possible there was some explosion-like burst of flame and sound. Has no one here heard of battery explosions before? "Explosion" is often the wrong word for Li-ion fires (more like angry jet of fire), but mild explosions are possible.

Anyhow. Yes. Battery punctured. It sucks but it's definitely a problem with EVs right now, Tesla or otherwise. Not saying it's worse than ICE, just a different risk. A risk that means you need to be more careful than before since instead of just wrecking an expensive part of the car (e.g. puncturing the oil pan, ruining the engine with a lack of oil), you also may cause a high energy fire which damages the whole car and potentially its surroundings.

Someone take a pic of that manhole cover. How does it stick up 5.5"?

Honestly yeah I find this weird. It may be something lost in translation, like a manhole protruding because pavement was removed and the ring is left. Here they normally put temporary rings around it to reduce chance of damage, but driving a Model 3 over some of those would be a very bad time while a lot of cars roll over without consequence.


May 27, 2016
Brisbane, Australia
Not you too, Toyota?


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
SF Bay Area
I suppose if you hit a manhole cover just at the right angle given the weight of the car, if it’s not locked down, it could flip up and hit the underside. I’m pretty sure manhole covers here are supposed to be locked down so they don’t get removed and cause something to fall inside them.

The news reports I read on this also mentioned other cars catch on fire so from what I’ve seen more balanced reporting. I had not read an account it was due to a manhole cover however so that new info.

I don’t know what the policies are in China but if manhole covers are to be locked in place, I think the owner should be able to go after that building’s owner or if street maintenance that department.

note: corrected typo
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Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
SF Bay Area
" if manhole covers are to be licked in place," Stunning visual

Glad you saw humor. Typo corrected so as not to cause too much laughter and give people a heart attack.

But on another note re:Nio any car could have run over the manhole cover and sustained undercarriage damage. I think most EVs especially will have lower ground clearance for aerodynamics and better range and be more susceptible to road debris etc. Hadn’t really thought about manhole covers but over the years we’ve driven over them and sometimes heard them apparently lift up because we heard them slam down in place.
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