Two men have been killed after a Tesla ‘with no one in the driver’s seat’ crashed into a tree.
The fully-electric car burst into flames after hitting the tree in Spring, Texas, at 11.25pm on Saturday.
Local police said the Model S was travelling fast and failed to navigate a turn before running off the road.
It is not yet clear if the Tesla’s driver-assist ‘autopilot’ system was being used at the time of the crash.
Harris County constable Mark Herman said there was a person in the front passenger seat and another in the rear, and they are certain no one was driving.
‘They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no-one driving that vehicle,’ he told KHOU-TV.
The station reported the victims were aged 69 and 59, and a relative said it took four hours to extinguish the blaze.
Authorities said the vehicle’s batteries repeatedly reignited and they had to call Tesla to ask how to put the fire out.
Tesla publishes information for first responders online, including the location of high-voltage lines.
Officials are investigating several Tesla crashes in which the vehicle’s autopilot function may have been used, including crashes involving cars that drove under tractor-trailers.
The company warns customers that its autopilot system is not an autonomous-driving programme, and they must pay attention and be ready to take control of the vehicle.
However, the National Transportation Safety Board has said the design of the system allows drivers to avoid paying attention and fails to limit where the autopilot can be used.
Tesla did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
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