Ryan Roberts, 25, of Goodhind Street, Easton, Bristol, appeared before Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
He was accused of attempted arson with intent to endanger life “by placing a lit item under the vehicle to endanger the life of a police officer”.
Mr Roberts faces five other charges over alleged rioting.
He is also accused of two counts of criminal damage by allegedly smashing the windows of Bridewell police station and those of another police vehicle, a charge of violent disorder and two charges of assaulting a police officer.
All six charges relate to alleged rioting in Bristol city centre on 21 March.
District Judge Lynne Matthews ordered Mr Roberts to appear before Bristol Crown Court on 5 May.
She said that the arson charge could only be dealt with at the crown court and therefore she was sending the other linked matters to the same court.