3000 liters of water needed
Battery fire on cargo bike: fire brigade has to immerse electric bike in container
Annette Riedl/dpa/archive picture Cargo bikes should conquer the inner cities. One of the electric bikes burned down in Stuttgart (symbol image)
The Greens want to fund electric cargo bikes with one billion euros. However, the charging of e-bike batteries always leads to fires – as is the case at a bicycle dealer in Stuttgart. Fighting the fire required unconventional methods.
Shock moment in a bicycle shop in Stuttgart: An electric cargo bike triggered an alarm at the fire brigade on Monday due to the beginning of a battery fire. "Apparently due to a technical defect, the battery of a three-wheeled cargo bike that was in a storeroom of the shop started dying around 4 p.m.10 a.m. to start smoking heavily. Alerted firefighters brought the bike outside. The smoke also moved into a building opposite, which then had to be ventilated by the fire brigade", reports the Stuttgart police. There are no reports of injuries.
Cargo bike starts to burn
The road had to be completely closed for the operation. As photos of the operation show, the fire brigade wore respiratory protection – which is usual in the event of a fire, especially since battery fires produce highly toxic gases – and used an unconventional method to extinguish the fire: the bike was maneuvered into a closed container. This method is also used for burning e-cars and hybrid vehicles.
When asked by Site, a spokesman for the city of Stuttgart explained that the rescuers on site simply used the transport container of the cargo bike themselves: "During the course of the operation, the fire brigade was able to remove the box body from the cargo bike and placed the chassis with the battery pack in the body. The box body was about half filled with water in order to cool the battery under water.
3000 liters of water were needed
, "because the box body was not completely watertight and the fire brigade had to keep refilling it with water", the spokesman continued. It took the fire brigade 2.5 hours to extinguish the cargo bike.
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Most recently, fires in electric cars and plug-in hybrids in particular made the headlines – and called the fire brigades into action .
Electric VW burns – mother saves child just in time
A problem with battery fires, in addition to highly toxic fumes, is the enormous water consumption. While a normal vehicle can be extinguished with 500 liters of water and in a short time, according to fire brigade experts, it takes up to 10.000 liters required. In addition, the battery must be monitored for 72 hours, as it can catch fire again at any time. One of the most recent known incidents involved a VW ID.3, which ignited in seconds after charging; one mother just had time to unbuckle her child from the child seat and get to safety before the electric VW burned out .
Fire risk with e-cars and e-bikes
The good news: For electric cars, experts have so far been able to determine, that despite the much greater effort involved in extinguishing the fire, the general risk of fire is no greater than in cars with petrol and diesel engines. In the bicycle sector it is of course different: since a Dutch bike cannot burn, the risk there is limited to two- or three-wheeled mobility. Again and again there are reports of burning bicycle batteries, some of which have serious consequences. These cases are likely to increase significantly as cargo bikes and normal e-bikes become more and more popular. If you charge your e-bike at home in the garage or in the basement, you should pay particular attention to safe electrical connections. To be on the safe side, charging outdoors is recommended.
When it comes to electric cars, fire experts point out that underground car parks and depots pose a particular risk. Fire protection expert Niki Traxel, a specialist in dealing with burning lithium-ion batteries, says to Site: "As a safety measure, a distance between the vehicles during charging is important – because during the charging process there is a risk of a fire incident biggest." Traxel also says you have to "discuss about it", whether it makes sense to charge electric cars in underground car parks. Because there, on the one hand, the spread to other vehicles is much more likely and extinguishing is also considerably more complicated. However, there are technical solutions – such as special separate parking boxes for electric cars that inhibit the spread of fire and can easily be flooded.
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