Tesla Model S Driver Killed in Fiery Netherlands Crash

Tesla says 'Autopilot' wasn't engaged when the Model S crashed while traveling nearly 100 mph.

Posted in News

— A Tesla Model S crash that killed a 53-year-old driver in the Netherlands wasn't caused by the "Autopilot" feature, according to Tesla engineers who reviewed the electric car's logs. According to local media reports, the driver crashed at high speed into a tree, causing the Model S to catch on fire.

Emergency medical personnel say the car was in such a mangled state that firefighters were afraid to recover the body because of electrocution fears.

The crash, which occurred about 25 miles from Amsterdam, was so violent that people at the scene said the Model S battery pack was detached from the car and thrown into the road.

Tesla said in the beginning it was looking at the data to determine if Autopilot was engaged during the crash, however, the automaker now says the logs from the Model S show Autopilot was not activated at any time during the trip. But the data did show the driver was traveling nearly 100 mph when he crashed into the tree.

Although Tesla says Autopilot wasn't involved, the automaker says it is working with the authorities to determine the facts of the crash.

While car fires and accidents are common, every Tesla crash is under a microscope after the death of Joshua Brown, the 40-year-old former Navy SEAL who was killed in his Tesla Model S. The crash data proved Autopilot was engaged when the car slammed into a tractor-trailer, traveling under the trailer and sheering the top off the Model S.

Since the Brown crash, other Tesla owners have said they crashed with Autopilot engaged and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into how Autopilot works and is marketed.

In addition to the Brown crash, NHTSA is looking into the crash of a Tesla Model X SUV that occurred in Pennsylvania. The driver claims he had activated Autopilot, but Tesla says it doesn't believe the feature has anything to do with the crash.

In August, a Model S driver in China claimed he sideswiped a parked Volkswagen and did more than $7,000 damage to the Model S. The driver said he thought Autopilot meant "self-driving" and accused Tesla of marketing the Model S as a self-driving car when it isn't.