Dozens of electric buses will be taken off the streets of Paris temporarily “as a precaution” after two of the vehicles caught fire, public transport operator RATP said Friday.
Following a second blaze on Friday morning, in which no one was hurt, “RATP has taken the decision to suspend use of 149 electric buses” of manufacturer Bollore’s Bluebus 5SE model, the state-owned company said.
The number 71 bus that caught fire in southeast Paris early Friday released thick clouds of black smoke and a strong smell of burning plastic, according to an AFP journalist on the scene.
“The bus driver immediately evacuated all the passengers. Nobody was hurt,” RATP said, while the city fire service said the blaze was put out by around 30 firefighters.
A first bus caught fire on the upscale Boulevard Saint-Germain in central Paris on April 4, destroying the vehicle but again causing no injuries.
Bluebus is part of the sprawling empire of French billionaire Vincent Bollore, whose interests range from transport and logistics to media, generating around 24 billion euros ($25 billion) per year in revenue with 80,000 employees.
Bollore’s 12-metre (39-foot) electric buses are a familiar sight on the streets of the French capital, emblazoned with the words “100 percent electric vehicle”.
On its website, the company says the buses are “fitted with a new generation of batteries… with high energy density and optimal safety” spread around the roof and rear of the vehicle.