It isn't clear if Autopilot was involved
A man has died after the Tesla Model S he was driving crashed heavily and caught fire.
The crash occurred early yesterday morning in Baarn in the Netherlands. The car reportedly left the road at a high speed and hit a tree. According to local media reports, the 53-year-old driver, who was the only occupant in the car, had died by the time emergency services arrived at the scene.
The force of the crash almost completely removed the front end of the Tesla, which caused problems for firefighters. Without the front axle in place and four rubber tires in contact with the ground, they were unsure how to approach the wreckage to recover the driver’s body without getting electrocuted.
A spokesman for the fire service, Ronald Boer, said: “If the car was on four wheels, the fire brigade normally has no difficulty to turn off the batteries. However, this car is completely destroyed, hampering the recovery. In this situation, you never know what can happen.”
Tesla Netherlands sent a team of technical advisors to the scene of the crash to assist in the operation. Unfortunately, the difficulties meant the body could not be recovered until many hours after the crash occurred.
A number of battery cells also came out of the chassis in the crash and caught fire, which caused further problems. According to one report, firefighters were only able to put the flames out by heaping soil onto the cells.
The cause of the crash is currently unknown. The local Traffic Analysis Police have launched an investigation looking into “whether someone has lost control of the car, or if there is another cause.” Inevitably, some reports have pointed the finger at Tesla’s Autopilot system, but there is currently no indication it was engaged at the time of the crash.
Tesla also announced it will carry out its own investigation into the crash. "Once the outcome is known, Tesla will share with the public," a statement from the automaker said.
This crash comes in the aftermath of the first fatal crash involving a Tesla with Autopilot engaged, which happened when the car's sensors failed to "see" a white semi-trailer against a bright sky.
Images of the Dutch crash are available at the source links below.