Transport for London has recalled 90 electric buses after a fire involved one of them on Sunday. The precautionary measure has been decided while the company investigates causes of the blaze, that happened at Potters Bar depot in Hertfordshire, run by Metroline. Six buses were damaged. Due to the suspension of the e-bus fleet, disruption will involve around five routes.
It should be mentioned that London has the largest e-bus fleet in Western Europe, with around 800 e-buses in operation, and has set the goal of buying only zero emission buses from 2021 on.
Credit picture: Shaun Cunningham, via BBC
London, electric bus fleet suspended
The suspended buses are double decker bus model MetroDeck EV from Switch Mobility (former Optare).
A statement from Switch Mobility: “We are aware of a fire at Potters Bar bus depot involving six buses, including two Switch Mobility electric buses. The fire has been extinguished and our immediate focus is on understanding the full details of what has happened and assist with subsequent investigations. Safety is paramount to Switch and as a precautionary measure we have advised operators in the UK to not charge or utilize vehicles that use the same battery technology as the vehicles involved whilst investigations continue“.
A TfL spokesperson is quoted as saying on The Evening Standard: “As a precaution, Switch Mobility has asked all operators that use its double decker electric buses to temporarily withdraw them from service while it conducts an investigation and carries out safety checks. We have arrangements in place to minimise any disruption on the routes where these buses operate. We apologise to any customers who are experiencing disruption to their bus service.”
In late September 2021 a large fire event in Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen (SBB)’s depot, in Gaisberg, destroyed 25 buses. A first assessment by the police, reported on many German media, said that the fire could have been caused by an electric bus during charging procedure.