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E-bike battery fires prompt call for better regulation

E-bike battery fires prompt call for better regulation

Safety concerns surrounding e-bike batteries have prompted calls for stricter regulations by a charity, Electrical Safety First. In June, a tragic incident resulted in the death of a woman and two children due to a fire linked to an e-bike battery. The current situation allows manufacturers to self-declare that their e-bike and e-scooter batteries meet safety standards, but the charity advocates for third-party approval before sale to mitigate risks.

The London Fire Brigade has reported an alarming trend, responding to fires caused by e-bike batteries approximately every two days in 2023. The chief executive of Electrical Safety First, Lesley Rudd, highlights the significant amount of energy released when a battery bursts into flames, posing unique fire risks that demand special measures.

Drawing parallels with New York City’s regulations, the charity suggests that the UK should adopt similar rules, requiring e-bikes, e-scooters, and their batteries to meet standards set by a third party with expertise in battery technology. The goal is to prevent further loss of life and curb irresponsible practices by third-party sellers on online platforms.

Government authorities acknowledge the issue and state that appropriate enforcement actions will be taken against manufacturers who fail to comply with safety regulations. In light of the increasing number of fires, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) emphasizes the need for greater awareness of the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries used in e-bikes.

Electrical Safety First’s report also suggests additional safety measures, such as changing the position of batteries on e-scooters to shield them from damage, banning universal chargers to prevent overcharging, setting standards for conversion kits used to turn regular bikes into e-bikes, and implementing a nationwide campaign on e-bike and e-scooter safety. The charity also calls for better regulation of online marketplaces where substandard and dangerous e-bikes and e-scooters are often purchased.

The UK Bicycle Association (BA) supports the proposed regulations, especially regarding online marketplaces, as they are identified as a significant source of problematic products. E-bike companies like Volt also welcome the potential measures to protect consumers from cheap and unsafe imported batteries.

In summary, the safety risks associated with e-bike batteries have prompted a charity to advocate for stricter regulations, including third-party approval before sale and better safety standards for e-bikes and e-scooters. These measures aim to address the growing concern of battery-related fires and protect consumers from dangerous products.


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