Electric bus catches fire amid insurer concerns over battery blazes

By Vint-tro / 12th January 2024
Bus fire in London at rush hour

The rear of a double-decker bus that was powered by electric was destroyed after catching fire in south west London on January 11th 2024. 

This incident which happened during rush hour has now raised concerns from insurers about lithium-ion batteries and the fire risks they could present.

The bus was travelling along Wimbledon Hill Road in Wimbledon at 7.21am when the blaze broke out.

The bus had to be cordoned off as a precaution until it was under control by around 15 firefighters and three fire engines that were deployed from Wimbledon, New Malden and Wandsworth stations.

A Met Police spokesperson said: "We thank the local community for their patience and co-operation as emergency services worked at the scene."

There were no reports of any injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.


According to Octopus EV, electric vehicles pack thousands of individual rechargeable lithium-ion cells that work together to power the motor.

During Insurance Times’ Fraud Charter on 19 September 2023, Mark Allen, the ABI’s head of fraud and finance, said fire risks that lithium-ion batteries presented were causing “real concern.”

“There is a particular issue with the lithium-ion batteries at the moment,” he continued.

Meanwhile, John Lewis Financial Services announced on 2 October 2023 that it had temporarily stopped offering insurance to drivers of electric vehicles following a decision made by its underwriter Covéa.

John Lewis said at the time that Covéa wanted to analyse the risks and costs detailed with EVs.

And on 18 August 2022, Axa UK revealed that two large claims associated with lithium-ion batteries in an e-scooter and bike resulted in a loss of almost half a million pounds.

As a result, the insurer warned the insurance industry and consumers that there was a significant fire risk caused by these batteries being damaged, overcharged or exposed to extreme temperatures.

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