HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The state is pulling Connecticut Transit’s entire electric fleet off the roads after a bus caught fire in Hamden this weekend.
The fire occurred in the CT transit parking lot on Saturday. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, and residents will not be able to ride the 12 electric buses until the investigation is completed.
The move comes as Gov. Lamont and state climate officials advocate for Connecticut’s Clean Air Act to reduce emissions by expanding its electric bus fleet.
“I think it’s a great initiative for the state, I mean to save on gas but I think there will be some glitches along the way, especially with extreme heat. Temperatures spiked close to 100 Saturday when the electric bus caught fire. At the source of the fire—its lithium-ion battery,” said Cheryl Santore of Ansonia.
CT Transit said the bus involved was not being used at the time. It had been out of service since July 20th. The manufacturer, New Flyer did not issue a recall.
“CT Transit removed the battery electric bus fleet from service out of an abundance of caution. These buses will remain out of service until a thorough investigation is completed,” said the Spokesperson for New Flyer.
According to research done by AutoinsuranceEZ, battery electric vehicles have just a .03 % chance of igniting compared, to 1.5 % for an internal combustion engine for gasoline vehicles.
“Lithium-ion batteries once they start burning and you pour water on them, it flares them up even more… As more and more electric vehicles come on the road I think we will have more and more incidences like this until the manufacturers can come up with additional safety procedures,” said Hamden Fire Battalion Chief Rich Otlowski.
Connecticut’s goal is to no longer use diesel-powered buses after January 2024.