Tesla’s horror year continues
Tesla's horror year has gone from bad to worse with images of another one of its electric cars charred following a fire - this time while apparently plugged in to one of the electric car maker's own high-powered charging stations in Belgium.
Belgian media have published images and are reported on the latest fire involving a Model S, one that required a 24-hour water bath to tame the heat and ensure no flare-ups from the potent lithium-ion battery packs.
The fire reportedly happened in Antwerp on Saturday night, resulting in a severely damaged car and a Supercharger station that was partially melted.
It is the latest high profile fire involving Tesla, which has previously argued its cars are less likely than petrol-fuelled vehicles to catch fire.
The Belgium Tesla fire comes as the company's shares slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low, the dropping market capitalisation slashing billions off boss Elon Musk's personal wealth.
Tesla's shares closed down 1.6 per cent on Friday at US$185.16, the lowest price since December 2016.
Tesla's share price is less than half the US$420 Elon Musk tweeted the company could be taken over at in August 2018, a tweet that led to a US$20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which deemed his statement was "false and misleading".
It continues a long-running stock market trend of the electric car maker dropping in value, with repeated massive losses - and subsequent capital raising exercises - taking their toll on investor confidence.
Tesla has also come under fire for its ambitious autonomous vehicle claims and a questionable business model that many investors are now feeling nervous about.
While some analysts still have strong buy recommendations on Tesla stock, more are running for the exit doors, suggesting owners sell up, presumably before things get worse.
Last month, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives warned investors there was "a code red situation at Tesla", suggesting the company was focusing on other projects such as robotaxis rather than ensuring the success of the crucial Model 3, the first big volume car for the brand and a vehicle that goes on sale in Australia in August priced from $66,000, plus on-road costs.
Barclays analysts said confidence in Tesla was shrinking and that there was "a higher likelihood that Tesla is at best a niche automaker". It comes in the face of intense competition that Tesla almost singlehandedly kickstarted.
Over the past week various business news outlets have also begun speculating on which companies may look to take over Tesla as its share price plummets; some of the companies being bandied about range from General Motors and Ford to tech companies Apple and Google.