A TESLA driver burned to death after he crashed because his cars’ “futuristic handles” trapped him in and rescuers “couldn’t open the doors”.
Dr Omar Awan, 48, lost control of his car, skidded across a road and smashed straight into a palm tree in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida.
Smoke and then flames engulfed his blue Model S Tesla shortly after the crash in February.
A police officer arrived almost immediately, and crowds gathered outside the vehicle, but no one was able to save the dad-of-five because of the “inaccessible door handles”.
The car’s retractable door handles are meant to “auto-present” or pop out when they detect a key fob nearby.
But it malfunctioned, stopping first responders from opening the doors and saving Awan. His loved ones have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, which claims the car’s litihium ion battery had caught fire.
The smoke from this suffocated Awan and burned him from his feet upwards.
He died from the smoke he inhaled as he sat locked inside the Tesla
The complaint said the car burned for hours, reigniting several times even after firefighters extinguished the flames and also when it was being towed away.
The lawsuit added: “After the Tesla hit the tree, he was alive. He had no internal injuries or broken bones.
“He died from the smoke he inhaled as he sat locked inside the Tesla, despite that a police officer and others were there and ready to help, until flames forced them away.
“The fire engulfed the car and burned Dr Awan beyond recognition – all because the Model S has inaccessible door handles, no other way to open the doors, and an unreasonably dangerous fire risk.”
Sun Online has contacted Tesla for a statement.
The company’s lawyers have not yet responded in court.
These things, they just love to burn. The car is so overengineered. It’s so techy, it makes you want to buy a Chevy pickup truckAwan's family lawyer, Stuart Grossman
Tesla, the maker of electric vehicles, claimed the Model S once achieved the “best safety rating of any car tested”.
Awan’s family lawyer Stuart Grossman, described the victim as environmentally sensitive and safety conscious.
He insisted Awan could afford a Mercedes or another luxury vehicle, but went with the 2016 Tesla because of its safety.
He added: “These things, they just love to burn. The car is so over engineered.
“It’s so techy, it makes you want to buy a Chevy pickup truck.”
After the incident, Tesla said in a statement: “We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.”
His family are seeking more than $15,000 in damages.
The emergency guide says: “If the door handles do not function, open the door manually by reaching inside the window and using the interior door handle.”
It is not the first time Tesla has been blamed for a death.
In May 2018, Barrett Riley, and his friend Edgar Monserratt, both 18, died when they lost control of Riley’s dads car at 116mph.
Dad James Riley claimed the crash should have been “entirely survivable”.