Dramatic footage shows the Tesla erupt in an inferno on a Moscow ring road, in Russia.
The plug-in car smashed into a tow truck with driver Alexy Tretiyakov, 41, and his children escaping before the vehicle blew up.
He was left with a broken leg and his children had bruises and concussion.
Another driver filmed the car go up in flames on the busy road.
“The Tesla was probably driving on autopilot and couldn’t recognise the tow truck in front of it, after which it caught fire”
Law enforcement source
A law enforcement source reportedly said: “The Tesla was probably driving on autopilot and couldn’t recognise the tow truck in front of it, after which it caught fire.
There are also media reports claiming that the autopilot was behind the crash.
Russian TV Channel 112 claimed: “The auto driving robot did not recognise an obstacle on the road so the Tesla hit the tow truck at high speed and caught fire.”
In a conflicting report the driver Mr Tretiyakov said that he was holding the wheel as the car manufacturers tell drivers to do.
He told REN TV: “I was going along Moscow ring road in the left lane with a speed of 100km per hour (62mph) and did not notice a parked Gazel tow truck.
“My Tesla Model 3 hit the tow truck with its left side and caught fire.
“It was not on full-scale automatic control – in Model 3 there is the function ‘driver’s assistant’ only, so I was holding the wheel.”
Mr Tretiyakov said that he and his two children were all wearing seatbelts.
He continued: “I needed help to get out of my car because one of my legs was broken.”
The three were taken to hospital after the crash, with Mr Tretiyakov also treated for a chest injury.
Tesla has stood has stood by safety claims for its Model 3 in the face of scrutiny from regulators, with documents from the top US automotive safety watchdog issuing at least five subpoenas since last year seeking information about crashes involving their cars.
Daily Star Online has contacted Tesla for comment.