Two Autolib Bolloré Bluecars Catch Fire – Cause Unknown

4 years ago by Jay Cole 13

Two Of Autolib's  Bolloré Blue Cars Were Destroyed By An Explosion And Subsequent Fire Monday Morning (photo via twitter:  @RATPIEDS)

Two Of Autolib’s Bolloré Bluecars Were Destroyed By An Explosion And Subsequent Fire Monday Morning (photo via twitter: @RATPIEDS)

Autolib, a car sharing service that operates out of Paris that features Bolloré’s electric Bluecars, has a bit of a PR set-back on its hands, as two of their cars have been destroyed by fire.

The incident happened on Monday morning, as one of two cars that were ultimately destroyed by fire “exploded” while charging on the streets of France on Boulevard de Charonne in the 20th Arrondissement of the city.

Another Look At The Aftermath Of The 2 EV Fire (photo via twitter:  @RATPIEDS)

Another Look At The Aftermath Of The 2 EV Fire (photo via twitter: @RATPIEDS)

According the The Local who first reported the incident, no one was hurt, but there was plenty of people in the area who saw (and heard) the explosion, as well as watched the two electric cars burn.

“I was on my way to work, when there were explosions like fireworks in one of the cars. A fire then took hold of a second car. Fireman were not able to get near the blaze because of the traffic jams,” one witness told The Local.

As a point of reference, the Bolloré Bluecar has a 30 kWh battery that lets the car travel as far as 150 miles (provided you drive like an old lady on Sunday).  The car also has a top speed of just under 70 mph.

Autolib users can rent the Bluecar from €9 ($12 USD) for half an hour, or €120 ($162 USD)yearly for unlimited 30 minute rides.

Autolib has plans to bring their car sharing model (but with less fires) to Indianapolis in 2014.

As for the cause of the explosions, that is still under investigation by the police.  Separately, Le Figaro newspaper reported there was “no indication of abnormal heat from the car’s batteries shortly before the fires.”

Bolloré has stated that the source of the explosion came from “outside” the vehicle.  The Local infers this to mean that vandals were to blame; which is not uncommon apparently, as the magazine says that 25 Blue Cars have been damaged since the car sharing product was launched.

Check out more of the story and more pics at The Local

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13 responses to "Two Autolib Bolloré Bluecars Catch Fire – Cause Unknown"

  1. Spec9 says:

    Orange cars.

    🙁

  2. Dan Frederiksen says:

    Overcharging a 3.6V lithium cell can cause fire. A usual suspect is the BMS failing somehow or charger failing to stop. Batteries generally don’t burst into flame on their own.

    At the relatively poor density of 110Wh/kg which they claim on their modules I would have gone with lifepo instead.

    1. io says:

      Parking in Paris can cause a fire too.
      Cars generally don’t burst into flame on their own…

      1. David Stone says:

        Yeah.

        Damn vandals…

  3. Nelson says:

    It’s hard not to be a hater when a new disruptive technology threatens your livelihood.
    I expect to see more of this as EV’s encroach on the oil industry business.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

  4. Jeff says:

    Lighting cars on fire is a favourite pass time in Paris, it’s a real problem. Probably best to wait for the police investigation to conclude on the source of the fire before jumping to any conclusions.

  5. Assaf says:

    “the streets of France”…. do you mean “Paris?”

    Parisians might agree; other Frenchwomen and men, perhaps not 😉

  6. Suprise Cat says:

    There was definitely no explosion, the windows around the place are all intact. Hollywood movies brainwashed the people that every flame burst is an explosion.

  7. Bonaire says:

    “While Charging”…

    This is troublesome. They may have not used proper cell balancing in their kit. They may also have faulty cells. Now, if other brands (un-mentioned) were to have fires “while charging” it would be very problematic for them. There have been house-fires where electric cars in the garage were involved. A Fisker in (Virginia?) burned half a house down when it arrived home “hot” and ignited”. A similar Fisker was seen burning in a parking lot. Both were not battery-based. Early on, a Chevy Volt in the home (Connecticut) burned but was also present with a home-converted EV in the same garage.

    Any brand of car that burns while charging caused by battery balancing problems will hurt the entire industry. One cell going to thermal runaway is the cause of the eventual fire. This is why new chemistries are highly needed. LiFEPO4, Li-S and many other more safer batteries will be welcome in years to come.

    1. Jeff says:

      “While Charging” doesn’t mean anything – these cars are constantly plugged in any time they’re not driving.

      1. Bonaire says:

        Sounds like an external source caused the fire. But Li Poly cells which are overcharged due to negligence can vent with flame.

  8. Emc2 says:

    Bolloré is claiming there was an outside source of the fire. The telemetric system did not detect any thermal runaway in the batteries. It is better to wait for the police report before jumping to any conclusions. See details here:
    http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2013/10/14/01016-20131014ARTFIG00412-incendies-d-autolib-des-actes-de-malveillance.php