Here’s what we know about the Volkswagen ID. Buzz EV van that recently exploded while charging at a public charging station in Finland.
The ID. Buzz Volkswagen EV van has monopolized the auto press with its official U.S. reveal last week. But in Europe, it has been in production for exactly a year, so they’re buzzing around EU countries already. And an ID. Buzz charging at a charging station in Finland exploded.
Though details are still under investigation, the explosion resulted in major damage to the charger. Curiously, the ID. Buzz saw little initial damage. Several people in the general vicinity of the charging station report hearing a loud bang followed by smoke and fire.
If the ID. Buzz didn’t explode at the charging station, when did it?
But soon after removal from the charging station, it exploded into flames at a storage lot. While an investigation of the VW is ongoing, the extensive damage means there isn’t much to investigate. According to Yle, the police investigated the charging station for clues.
“It’s hard to say, but there was nothing extra in the car that would have exploded,” said local firefighter Markus Koskela. “The car’s high-voltage battery did not appear to be damaged.” The possibility of a bomb or other explosive device was ruled out—and surveillance video of the ID. Buzz charging didn’t show any foul play.
The ID. Buzz was a rental from VW by the City of Lahti through City-Yhteisautot Oy as a shared rental car. The protocol is for the importer to investigate the incident. As of now, investigators say there is nothing to show that the ID. Buzz is the cause of the incident.
Are VW EVs known for exploding at charging stations?
A well-publicized VW ID.3 EV explosion happened in August 2021 in Groningen, Netherlands, at a charging station. And in March 2023, an ID.4 Volkswagen exploded at a newer Electrify America charger in Tracy, California. That explosion began at the charging port based on surveillance video. Chargers like this have been the focus of investigations into several EVs bricking while charging.
Toward the end of November 2021, another ID.4 VW sitting at a Ravensburg (Baden-Württemberg), Germany, parking garage caught on fire after it burst into flames while charging. And Volkswagen issued a recall for ID.4 sedans for electrical issues, but these were related to the 12-volt battery system and didn’t involve the motor/battery EV system.
As experts continue to stress, EVs catch on fire as frequently or less frequently than gas-powered vehicles. EV fires tend to get more attention because they’re more of an unknown entity to the general public. And several factors indicate that when they burst into flames, it has some involvement with the chargers themselves. As such, we’ll report on indications that any of the current crop of EVs might be prone to fires.