Officials say that no one was in the driver’s seat when a Tesla crashed into a tree in Woodlands, Texas, late Saturday, bursting into flames and killing both male occupants. According to authorities, the men’s wives told investigators that, minutes before the crash, the two had been discussing using the vehicle’s Autopilot function before going for a ride. Physical evidence indicated that one man was in the passenger seat and the other was in the back seat, said officials, though neither could be positively identified because of the duration of the fire. “It took four hours to put out a fire that normally would have taken a matter of minutes,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said. Regulators have expressed alarm about the kind of batteries used in Teslas, warning that they can potentially make vehicle fires more difficult to put out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is investigating nearly two dozen crashes involving Teslas potentially using Autopilot.
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