Herman said his office is coordinating with federal authorities, without specifying which ones, and didn’t know whether the Autopilot feature was engaged. It took more than 30,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, which burned for four hours, he added.
Federal officials have criticized Tesla
for fire risks related to the battery packs in its cars and for not doing enough to keep drivers from using its driver-assist function inappropriately. In a hearing last year, the National Transportation Safety Board’s chairman said that “it’s time to stop enabling drivers in any partially automated vehicle to pretend that they have driverless cars.”
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk
has defended the safety record of his company’s vehicles. This week, he shared a report on Twitter, saying that a Tesla with Autopilot engaged is now approaching a “10 times lower” chance of an accident than an average vehicle.
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