Electric Bus Fire in Malvani: BEST GM Seeks Tata Motor’s Inspection

A BEST electric bus caught fire while charging in the Malvani depot in the wee hours of Friday. This is the second electric bus fire in Malvani Depot. The General Manager of BEST has requested Tata Motors to inspect all the electric buses from this batch.

Electric Bus Fire in Malvani: Fire fighters dousing the blazing electric bus.

In the early hours of Friday, a medium-sized electric bus belonging to Mumbai’s civic transport authority, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) caught fire while charging. The incident happened in the suburban area of Malvani.

Officials reported that the incident transpired around 5 AM and was swiftly extinguished within 15 minutes.

Fortunately, there were no injuries resulting from the incident. The affected bus was one among several electric vehicles being charged at the designated bay.

The fire originated within the bus’s rooftop battery system. As soon as the BEST staff noticed the blaze, they promptly relocated adjacent buses to prevent its spread.

Despite their efforts to employ onboard fire extinguishers, they were unable to fully contain the fire, according to sources within the organization.

A spokesperson from BEST confirmed that the fire brigade was promptly alerted and arrived on the scene, successfully extinguishing the blaze around 5:15 AM.

The exact cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Second Incident of Electric Bus Fire in Malvani

Vijay Singhal, the general manager of BEST, stated that he had been in contact with Tata Motors, urging them to inspect all the electric buses from the same batch due to this being the second electric bus fire in Malvani incident.

The first incident of electric bus fire in Malvani occurred on June 16. Importantly, both fires occurred during the charging process rather than during operational use on the road.

Singhal suggested that there may be manufacturing or charging-related issues that require investigation by Tata Motors’ technical team.

Singhal further emphasized the need to focus the investigation on aspects such as charging time, charger equipment, and other related factors since both incidents transpired during the charging phase. Tata Motors has agreed to cooperate and has dispatched a team for this purpose.

Singhal announced his intention to review the situation within three to four days.

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This unfortunate incident marks the sixth fire-related incident involving BEST buses this year, with three occurring in less than three months.

Notably, more than 30 passengers narrowly escaped a bus fire in Marol, Andheri, on July 17, and a month prior, on June 16, another electric air-conditioned bus within the fleet caught fire while parked in a Malvani depot.

In February, BEST temporarily suspended 400 wet-leased buses from service following three consecutive bus fire incidents.

BEST serves as the primary provider of public bus transportation in Mumbai and surrounding areas, including Thane, Navi Mumbai, and Mira-Bhayandar.

Their fleet comprises approximately 3,500 buses, a portion of which is leased from private contractors, including electric buses under the wet-lease model, where private operators manage vehicle ownership, maintenance, fueling, and driver salaries.

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