The police force in Rome, Italy, lost a BMW i3 recently after the range-extended electric vehicle caught fire. The blaze's cause is not currently known, but videos and photos of the incident provide some clues.
The video above provides a good look at the smoky scene. People shoot a blue chemical from a fire extinguisher to quell the blaze, but it doesn't work. The i3 continues to smoke heavily from the rear. The photos below provide another angle on the incident. They also show attempts to put out the smoldering hatchback. However, another picture has the BMW completely engulfed in flames. An ambulance and police car block the two lanes leading to the car.
While the i3 is an electric vehicle, BMW offers an optional range extender that recharges the batteries when drivers are away from an outlet. The photos appear to show the fuel tank flap above the front fender on this one. However, the hatchback doesn't seem to have any damage that might cause a fire.
The i3 might seem like an odd choice as a police vehicle, but other forces around the world use it, too. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department recently bought 100 of them for the non-emergency fleet. The LAPD also tested the Tesla Model S but picked the Bimmer because of the fuel economy, reliability, and ConnectedDrive services. BMW also displayed a concept version for emergency services at Germany's RETTmobil conference.