Video does not show electric bus on fire in London

8 December 2023
What was claimed

The video shows an electric bus on fire in London’s clean air zone.

Our verdict

False. This shows a fire on a bus in Bradford that is believed to have been started deliberately. The bus is not electric.

Multiple online posts are sharing a video with claims it shows an electric bus on fire in London. But this is not true. 

The video shows flames and a large cloud of smoke coming from a double decker bus paused at a bus stop. Posts across social media platforms, including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, claim the video shows an electric bus on fire in London’s “clean air zone”.

This may be a reference to either London’s Low Emission Zone or its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Full Fact has written about ULEZ multiple times before.  

One post has the caption: “Electric bus fire in London. An inferno because of the lithium battery. And all that toxic smoke being breathed in. That’s a great idea for a so called clean air zone not. Electric vehicles are no good for the environment!!!”

But it’s not true that this video was filmed in London, or that it shows a fire caused by an electric bus. 

The video shows an incident in the city centre of Bradford, Yorkshire, on 9 October. The bus had no passengers onboard at the time of the fire. A 15-year-old boy has been arrested for criminal damage and has been released on conditional bail.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service told Full Fact: “The Fire Investigation Unit believed it was a deliberate ignition, which the police are investigating”. 

While Bradford does have a clean air zone, a spokesperson for the bus company, First Bus, confirmed to us that the double-decker in the video is not electric. It appears to be one of Bradford’s 39 ultra-low emission buses which were introduced in 2022. 

We have seen many false claims about electric vehicles in the past, including that a fire in a Luton Airport car park started with an electric vehicle, false claims that a video shows electric vehicle chargers operated by a diesel generator and incorrect claims on social media that an electric vehicle will self-charge as it drives by attaching a generator to the wheel to harness the energy

Image courtesy of Tim Green

Correction 6 February 2024

We updated this article to correct a typo in the claim box.

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