NAPIT addresses the dangers associated with battery fires on e-bikes and e-scooters

The increasing number of fatalities, injuries and destructive fires caused by electric-bikes and electric scooters have been a cause for concern. In light of the eight deaths, 190 injuries, and at least six fires a week, and the prediction that 338 more fires will occur by the end of the year, it is perhaps not surprising that there is a call for regulating the batteries of the e-bikes and e-scooters in the same manner as fireworks and heavy machinery.

An e-bike typically consists of a 48–52-volt lithium-ion battery, which, when fully charged, when faulty or damaged can result in overheating and can catch fire without warning.  

There is also a risk that batteries purchased online may not conform to safety standards, be counterfeit and pose a significant danger to users. Once ignited, they are deadly, the flames spread rapidly and uncontrollably, and an entire room can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. As such, to get the most out of your batteries, it is recommended that you conduct research beforehand, learning how to store and charge them correctly. 

What can you do?

  1. Ensure that batteries are purchased from reputable retailers and they meet British or European standards
  2. Use manufacturer-approved products and follow their instructions
  3. Register products to ensure you can be contacted with safety updates or recall information

How to keep your customers safe

  1. Storage advice: Store in a cool, dry area, not too hot or too cold, and away from combustible or flammable materials. Additionally, it is recommended to not leave them in a communal area or escape route at an HMO
  2. Charging advice: Do not leave devices to charge overnight or while you are away from home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging times and unplug as soon as the charging is complete. Do not cover the battery when it is being charged
  3. Make sure all fire alarms are operational
  4. Inspect the battery for any signs of damage. If there are any, do not use or charge the battery. Instead, dispose of it safely via appropriate battery recycling centres not in refuse bins or waste recycling areas
  5. Leave the premises immediately in the event of a fire. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire, stay outside and call 999

NAPIT Chief Technical Officer, Frank Bertie says: “It is clear these batteries are becoming a safety hazard in the industry, and we at NAPIT support any regulatory measures that the Government may take to ensure the safety of its consumers. The importance of sharing information and conveying the dangers associated with e-bikes and e-scooters cannot be understated.”

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