Since September 2021, 3 electric buses from the Quimper Bluebus factories, an entity of the Bolloré, have burned down. The last fire occurred this Friday, April 29 in Paris. The RATP is temporarily withdrawing its 149 Bluebuses from circulation.
A bus burning in the middle of the street in Paris, this Friday, April 29. The pictures are impressive.
A small explosion shakes the roof, followed by a release of smoke and then real fireworks, with a column of flames rising towards the sky. Everything happens very quickly.
This electric bus, flagship of “Bluebus” technology, came out of the Bolloré factories located in Ergué-Gabéric. It is there near Quimper, stronghold of the Breton billionaire’s family, that the lithium batteries are manufactured and the carcasses of the buses are assembled.
On April 4, another RATP “Bluebus” caught fire for an undetermined reason while traveling on line 86, boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris.
Ditto on September 30, 2021, in Stuttgart, Germany, where a “Bluebus” had also burned down. In this fire, 20 other buses from the depot went up in smoke.
Reactions from the Bolloré
The Bolloré remains cautious about the cause of these incidents and announces “to carry out analyzes to see where the fire comes from” . Even if he admits that “the fire starts from the roof of the buses at the level of the batteries” , the company says “want to understand before questioning its lithium batteries.”
RATP withdraws its 149 Bluebus 5SE from circulation
In response, the RATP withdrew its 149 “Bluebus” from the series in doubt (5SE). This withdrawal, the time of the investigation, “is the most reasonable choice, to ensure that there is no similar failure on other vehicles” , reacted the Ministry of Transport.
The Ile-de-France Mobilités regional transport authority, chaired by Valérie Pécresse, immediately asked the RATP to shed “all the light” on these fires “and to take all the necessary precautionary measures” , according to a door- speech.
Describing the incident as “worrying”, the Association of transport users / FNAUT Ile-de-France also called in a tweet for “rapid corrective actions on the part of the manufacturer” .
Full expertise request
The Paris transport network has 500 electric vehicles supplied by Alstom, Bolloré and Heuliez (Iveco), out of a total of 4,700 buses, operated since 2016 “without major incident”.
The Régie has also ordered 451 additional electric buses from Iveco, Bolloré and Irizar. “The RATP has requested a complete expertise from the Breton manufacturer Bolloré in order to explain the causes of these incidents and propose an action plan to allow these buses to be put back into operation in complete safety” , she explained. in a press release.
“All Bluebus teams are mobilized to cooperate actively with the RATP and the competent bodies in order in particular to determine the origin of the incident” , reacted the subsidiary of Bolloré in a brief message to AFP.
Electric bus fires are regularly reported in the specialized press, even if they remain rare. They generally occur during recharging of the batteries, at night, at the depot.