As we discussed before, electric car fires are fairly rare and nothing points to them being more frequent than in gas-powered vehicles, but this instance is particularly unusual because it actually occurred in a BMW i3 owned and operated by the Italian state police in Rome.
BMW has been successful in marketing its electric vehicles with police departments around the world, including with the Bavarian police and more recently, the automaker announced that it won a contract with the LAPD to deliver 100 BMW i3 vehicles.
The company also delivered 4 BMW i3’s to the Italian state police last year. The vehicle is also offered with a gas-powered range extender, but I wasn’t able to confirm if the vehicles delivered to the police in Rome were all-electric or with range extenders. It’s difficult to tell from the pictures and video below (via youreporter.it).
If there is a range extender, it would be located pretty much exactly where the police is using the fire extinguisher. The battery pack is located at the bottom of the vehicle between the axles.
It happened in Salaria in Rome on Saturday. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but there’s no sign of an impact or damage on the vehicle aside from the result of the fire.