This Volkswagen ID.3 burst into flames after a woman from the Dutch city of Groningen disconnected it from the curbside charger. She had just put her child in the vehicle and wanted to get behind the wheel when she noticed the car started to smoke, and not long after that it was completely enveloped by flames.
They were able to leave the vehicle quickly and were unharmed, but the ID.3 itself was burnt beyond repair, even damaging a car (another EV, a first-gen Nissan Leaf) parked right behind it. Firefighters were quick to reach the scene, but the electric Volkswagen hatchback could not be saved and what was left of it was towed away.
Volkswagen is reportedly going to thoroughly investigate the wreckage to try to uncover why the vehicle spontaneously combusted. There seems to be a consensus among manufacturers that electric vehicles don’t necessarily pose a greater fire risk than regular internal combustion-engined vehicles, yet EV battery packs are known for being very dangerous when exposed to very high temperatures.
We didn’t find information about any other Volkswagen ID.3 or ID.4 fires, so this could very well be the first one. We will post a follow-up article to this one once the information as to why this particular ID.3 encountered this issue becomes available. It could be something charging-related (since the vehicle was plugged in shortly before it started smoking), but we’ll wait for the official version as to what exactly happened.
The ID.3 didn’t get off to the best start in Europe, after being delayed, then recalled (in October and November 2020) for an issue with the protective earthed conductor (PE conductor) on the charger that could apparently become loose and eventually detach. It was also heavily criticised for its glitchy infotainment software, but these issues have been addressed to a degree - it’s not perfect, but it’s better than before.