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Electric Bus Catches Fire After Battery Explosion

May 1, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t frankobaysioFrank




It is frightening to think what would have happened with passengers on board.




An Electric Bus Caught Fire After Battery Explosion in Paris

A video recording shows the start of the fire which completely consumed an electric RATP bus on Friday 29 April. The incident caused no injuries. The bus burst into flames within seconds. This is what can be seen on the video that captured the very beginning of the fire of an electric vehicle of the RATP in Paris , this Friday, April 29. In the images, we can see a small explosion occur on the roof of the bus, where the batteries are located, followed by huge flames that spread to the entire body, at breakneck speed. This line 71 bus caught fire in the 13th arrondissement of Paris in the morning, mobilizing around thirty workers, according to the firefighters contacted by Le Parisien. It is a 100% electric vehicle, from the Bolloré brand Bluebus 5SE series, like the bus that burned down at the beginning of April .

This afternoon, the RATP decided to temporarily withdraw from circulation the 149 Bolloré electric bluebuses that circulate on its network.

  1. Andrew Harding permalink
    May 1, 2022 10:17 am

    This incident, together with the fire that started in a ship’s hold with dozens of electric cars, needs investigating, and quickly!

    The fact that the fumes from burning EV batteries contain the most reactive acid is a major cause of concern. Hydrogen Fluoride, when in contact with water, or water vapour, creates Hydrofluoric Acid, which will attack glass.

    The fact that there is no rhyme nor reason for these fires, is extremely worrying as is the fact that the fire cannot easily be extinguished, due to their ferocity, is a major cause of concern!

    • May 1, 2022 11:30 am

      There are whole host of dangerous, toxic and corrosive substances given off in thermal runaway events in Li-ion batteries. There are lots of causes of these events.

      • May 1, 2022 11:46 am

        And the claim is EVs are ’emissions free’. Right!

    • May 1, 2022 12:28 pm

      Where does the fluoride come from? How much of it is in a battery?

    • May 1, 2022 12:50 pm

      It seems an odd design concept to mount the batteries on the roof ? They are exposed to the hot sun, and there have been some intense heat waves in France in recent years.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        May 1, 2022 4:20 pm

        “It seems an odd design concept to mount the batteries on the roof ? They are exposed to the hot sun”

        I thought the same thing, and also wonder why they would mount such a heavy item on the highest part of the vehicle. Considering that a typical car battery can weight half a ton, a bus battery pack is going to be 3-4 times that (at least!). This also puts substantial extra stress on the body framework, compared to hanging them underneath the floor/chassis. If the designers thought this arrangement might be safer in an accident, they know better now!

      • May 1, 2022 8:07 pm

        I also cannot imagine the roof of the bus will be made of anything substantial to provide an intense fire barrier, considering there are normally people underneath. Having seen the speed and ferocity of the fire development, would you go on such a bus with such a battery right above you? Not I!

      • J Burns permalink
        May 2, 2022 12:23 am

        It seems unlikely they would have mounted them in the roof unless they knew the alternative – mounting them underneath the passengers – was even more risky.

    • May 1, 2022 3:13 pm

      That ncbi link is very interesting. Going by the figures in that, you could have several kg of HF released from a typical EV battery in a fire.

      I don’t think there are any extinguishing media that are effective against the battery fire itself, although water cooling of surrounding material can stop it spreading. Really all you can do is evacuate people to safe distance and let it burn itself out.

      HF is really quite scary, as the damage to tissues can be delayed by hours. You can be exposed without really feeling anything much, but later on the damage becomes all too apparent. If you find yourself near one of these fires stay upwind that is all I can say,

  2. The Informed Consumer permalink
    May 1, 2022 10:24 am

    That’s a lot of exhaust fumes.

  3. Harry Passfield permalink
    May 1, 2022 10:26 am

    And as I posted on another thread, Coventry City are planning to replace their entire fleet of buses with EV. God knows what their liability insurance premiums are like!

    • May 1, 2022 10:52 am

      If anyone in Coventry saw this, they probably wouldn’t get on an EV bus, ever. Poster campaign anyone?

  4. May 1, 2022 11:27 am

    The thermal runaway problems with Li-ion batteries in EVs, e-buses and e-scooters is the same with battery storage in homes and with large Commercial BESS. Stay away away from all of them.

  5. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    May 1, 2022 11:29 am

    Thats fire of an intensity you would expect if the petrol tank on a vehicle had been ruptured and caught fire not a vehicle with batteries!. There have been instances of car fires on numerous makes of BEVs as well and its well known that lithium batteries are vulnerable spontaneous ignition if not managed properly. What seems troubling with these fires is that the local fire brigade are going to need something like foam to deal with them but thats if they can even get there quick enough as they are very rapid.

  6. May 1, 2022 11:51 am

    I think I’ll stick to my trusty old diesel, thanks!🙄

  7. May 1, 2022 12:39 pm

    This is interesting but don’t fall into the trap of thinking battery safety is some kind of Achilles heal of the EV concept.
    Going forward, they will use so-called “safe chemistry” batteries like LFP. Tesla are switching to these so the others will follow.

    • May 1, 2022 12:51 pm

      LiFePO4 batteries are not safer, the fire is just delayed.

      • May 1, 2022 1:23 pm

        I’ve not heard that, do you have links to back this up?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 1, 2022 1:32 pm

        KB. I suggest you watch the video on the thread before this.

      • May 1, 2022 1:53 pm

        This is what Prof Christensen said “I have appraised a number of planning applications for grid-scale battery energy storage systems, 50MWh, 30MWh etc and I have been astounded and appalled by the lack of understanding of the risks and hazards associated with Li-ion batteries. If granted, these planning applications would result in the potential harm to fire-fighters and local residents – there is just no appreciation of the safety issues involved. People often believe that LiFePO4 batteries are safer – but the suspicion is that all it does is delay ignition and facilitate explosion over fire”.

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        May 1, 2022 2:26 pm

        They should be classified hazardous installations if they aren’t already so the local fire brigade is aware of the risk and trained and equipped with suitable fire fighting equipment should an incident happen.

    • May 2, 2022 7:11 am

      The paper on Li-Ion battery fires linked by “It doesn’t add up..” above includes LiFePO4 batteries:!po=0.781250

      They don’t look any safer than other Li-Ion batteries.

  8. Dave Ward permalink
    May 1, 2022 4:57 pm

    I’ve been looking online, and thought this quote was rather amusing (my bolding):

    “Bluebus is a range of urban buses manufactured and marketed by the French Bolloré Group under the brand Blue Solutions since the end of 2015 with the peculiarity of being entirely electric.”

    And from the manufacturers own site:

    High energy density
    High level of security
    Environmentally friendly without solvent, nickel or cobalt
    Unaffected by weather conditions

    I’d say that #3 is in doubt now!

    From their technical document (in French) I make out that it has “Up to 441kWh, but the weight of the battery is only 450kg – which seems far to low for that amount of capacity. The batteries are described as “Solid State Lithium Metal Polymer” for those who are interested.

    There are 22 documents on the “Press Releases” page, with several claims of it being entirely French made, yet the German company Siemens gets a mention! The most recent is a short announcement about a “Temporary Withdrawal” of the fleet to determine the origin of the disaster.

    • Mikehig permalink
      May 1, 2022 10:41 pm

      That battery weight does indeed look way too low.
      Tesla are generally viewed as the industry leader in battery tech. Their latest model Y has a 75 kWh battery which weighs 530 kg.
      On that basis a 441 kWh unit should weigh about 3100 kg.

  9. Mikehig permalink
    May 1, 2022 5:14 pm

    Gives a whole new meaning to the old-fashioned word for buses: “charabanc”…

  10. tomo permalink
    May 2, 2022 12:39 am

    How long before the battery travels in a trailer?

  11. tomo permalink
    May 2, 2022 12:41 am


    he gets about eh?

  12. Stephen Bazlinton permalink
    May 3, 2022 1:43 pm

    Don’t put domestic BESS in your loft or under the stairs or in the garage and don’t use second life batteries……

  13. Joe permalink
    May 4, 2022 7:00 pm

    Planes go down and we still fly.


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