Electric bus triggered a major fire – Munich pulls e-vehicles out of circulation
Düsseldorf, Hanover, Stuttgart: It is the third major fire in a bus depot. And each time electric vehicles are involved. The Munich transport company is now reacting: E-buses of the same construction will be taken out of service in Stuttgart until the cause of the fire has been finally clarified.
GDoes the risk of fire with electromobility threaten the transport transition or at least the move away from certain vehicles that run on fossil fuels? After an electric bus allegedly caused a major fire in Stuttgart last week, transport companies are taking action.
The Munich transport company (MVG) is taking eight electric buses out of service as a precaution. The measure only applies to buses of the same type and initially only until the cause of the fire has been finally clarified, the Munich public utility company announced on Friday.
According to current knowledge, the fire in a bus depot in Stuttgart could have started when an electric bus was being charged. The investigators came to this conclusion after checking the data from the fire alarm system and the associated temperature sensors, as a police spokeswoman announced on Thursday. A technical defect is therefore currently assumed to be the cause of the fire. However, further investigations are necessary.
25 buses destroyed in Stuttgart
On September 30, the major fire completely destroyed 25 buses in the depot, including two with electric drives. The property damage is in the millions. Since the fire broke out around 8 p.m. in the evening when many vehicles were still in use in the city, even greater damage was prevented.
Because of the fire in the bus depot, no electric buses are currently in use, said a spokesman for the local transport company SSB.
Major fire in June in a bus depot in Hanover
At the beginning of June there was a fire in a bus depot in Hanover. On June 5, the fire destroyed a hall with five electric buses, two hybrid buses, one diesel bus and one touring coach. The burning batteries of the electric buses posed a particular challenge for the fire brigade, as they emitted a lot of heat. E-buses were then withdrawn from service. They are to be used again from November 1st.
Major fire in early April in a bus depot in Düsseldorf
On April 1, there was a fire in the Rheinbahn depot in Düsseldorf. 38 buses and the depot where the vehicles were parked were destroyed. The transport company estimated the damage at several million euros.
Experts from the Düsseldorf public prosecutor came to the conclusion in June that the fire had a technical cause.
Among the 38 vehicles destroyed were eight electric buses that were charging in the hall at night. According to a report by the “Rheinische Post”, shortly after the fire, employees had speculated that an electric bus had caused the fire. The hall was only converted shortly before the big fire for the e-buses.
The public prosecutor’s report on the technical defect that caused the fire only says that the cause could not be determined more clearly due to the sustained fire progress and the enormous degree of destruction.
Electric vehicle fire hazard
Electric car batteries are made up of different cells. If one of them catches fire, the flames can quickly spread to the other cells.
Such a domino effect is called “thermal runaway”, explains fire protection expert Matthias Bohnert in the “Südwestrundfunk”.
This effect makes fires in e-cars so dangerous: “The main difference is that in a car with a combustion engine, the flames spread moderately. This means that it takes five to ten minutes before a full fire can break out there. With an e-vehicle, precisely when a thermal runaway occurs, the fire spreads explosively. And that can happen within a few seconds,” says Bohnert.