E-bike batteries raise safety concerns amid rise in fires: Very hard to examine. Battery for ev bike

E-bike batteries raise safety concerns amid rise in fires: ‘Very hard to examine’

Fire or overheating incidents from these devices led to 19 fatalities in 2022.

Parents file lawsuit against e-bike manufacturer following daughter’s death The parents of 12-year-old Molly Steinsapir are demanding change after their daughter died in a traumatic e-bike accident last year. ABC News

The growing popularity of e-bikes in the United States in recent years has led to a rise in fires and other hazards, local and federal officials are warning.

At least 19 people died in the United States in 2022 because of fires or overheating incidents related to battery-powered products such as e-bikes, scooters and hoverboards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said this week.

In New York City alone, fires caused by lithium-ion batteries powering these micro-mobility devices, also known as light electric vehicles (LEVs), have been responsible for at least 208 fires this year, resulting in 142 injuries and six deaths, a spokesperson for the New York Fire Department said.

In 2021, there were 104 fires caused by these batteries, 79 injuries and 4 deaths, according to city data. In 2020, there were 44 such fires, 23 injuries and zero deaths, the data shows.

Micro-mobility devices in 2022 caused four fires a week on average, based on data from the FDNY.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in a letter last week, urged over 2,000 manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of LEVs to sell products that use batteries built with standards set by Underwriters Laboratory, an industry safety organization, in order to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths.

Compliance with these standards should be demonstrated by certification from an accredited testing laboratory, the agency urged.

While many battery manufacturers like Bosch follow the standards, experts say the standards need to be industry-wide. The move to required UL standards in all these products would make them far safer overall, they say.

Some industry experts see the recent moves by the CPSC as evidence it lacks the necessary regulatory muscle to cause a change in the industry. This concern comes as more Americans are embracing LEVs, with many expected to purchase these around the holidays.

The CPSC has jurisdiction over these products. The U.S. Department of Transportation established in 2018 the Lithium Battery Working Safety Group which includes officials from CPSC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute for Standard and Technology. The group advises Congress on additional ways to mitigate fire hazards from these batteries and ways to establish uniform regulations for these batteries.

When asked about why they were not seeking to make UL certification mandatory, instead of just encouraging companies to adopt those standards, a CPSC spokesperson said it is time consuming to adopt mandatory rules, making voluntary standards a more common course of action to get important safety information to industry and consumers as quickly as possible.

New York problem

Fatiumata Dialo has been delivering food on his e-bike in New York for the last year. An immigrant from Guinea, he said his e-bike, for which he paid 1750, is the most expensive purchase he has made since arriving in the U.S.

Dialo cycles between several batteries for the bike over the course of the day. He charges his batteries overnight at his apartment, and he also pays a monthly fee to charge a battery during the day at a e-bike shop in Brooklyn.

Delivery workers pay about 40 a month to charge batteries in one of these e-bike shops, according to a worker in one store. One location in New York’s Chinatown visited by ABC News contained over 80 batteries charging at roughly the same time.

According to FDNY Deputy Commissioner Frank Dwyer, charging stations where dozens or even hundreds of batteries are being charged at the same time could pose fire hazards.

“That’s actually covered in the fire code. And we have our fire prevention people out there doing inspections on those properties if they’re not abiding by the proper fire code,” Dwyer said.

ABC News reached out to the fire departments for the 25 largest cities in the United States. New York City leads its metropolitan competitors with the highest number of fires caused by these devices, according to a review of city data. It’s also the leading city actively tracking the fires and working with government officials to understand and regulate the issue, according to interviews with fire officials.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said it does not have any data about fires attributable to e-bikes, and the San Francisco Fire Department does not actively track fires from LEVs like New York does.

Despite concerns about charging safety, Dialo said he was less concerned about the risk of fire than getting into an accident or getting robbed, he said. Other delivery workers ABC News spoke to seemed to agree with this prioritization of concerns.

However, recent reports of fires due to charging e-bike batteries have raised calls for action by many New Yorkers. A Nov. 5 fire at a high-rise building in midtown Manhattan that sent 38 people to the hospital was caused by a lithium-ion battery connected to a micro-mobility device, fire officials determined.

In this Nov. 5, 2022, file photo, firefighters perform a rope rescue after a fire broke out inside a high-rise building on East 52nd Street in New York. New York Daily News/TNS via Getty Images, FILE

“It’s not just that there are fires, it’s that there could be a fire in my building where I sleep and my children’s sleep,” New York City Council Member Gale Brewer told ABC News.

The FDNY is attempting to learn more about how the fires are started. Often, the bikes and the batteries are too damaged by the fires to learn about the cause of the fire, type of bike and battery involved, and whether the cause could have been a manufacturing defect.

“So, it’s very hard to examine the actual battery that fails due to the explosive nature of these fires, and the damage that they’re subjected to after the fire occurs,” Dwyer noted.

Brewer sponsored recent legislation focused on e-bikes. The bills currently under consideration by the city council, which the FDNY has voiced support for, include measures to increase education about fire risks from batteries, ban the sale of second-hand batteries that have been reconditioned or manipulated and which are sold on the secondary market, require UL standards for bikes and improve reporting measures.

Some activists say the move is too late.

“They pass a law to legalize [e-bikes], but they never thought about the batteries? I mean, they’re talking about the batteries three years later,” said Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, the director of policy and strategic partnerships for New York City advocacy group Los Deliveristas Unidos.

The rise of LEVs

Light electric vehicles gained popularity as many Americans rethought common methods of transportation during the pandemic. A projected 1 million LEVs are expected to be sold in the U.S. in 2022, compared to the 288,000 sold in 2019, according to Ed Benjamin, chairman of the LEV Association.

But most consumers have gravitated to affordable models.

One of the priciest e-bikes listed in Consumer Reports retails at nearly 4,000, with the cheapest recommendation at 1,300. Some budget bikes retail on sites like Amazon for under 500.

In this Nov. 15, 2022, file photo, a delivery person rides an electric bicycle through the streets of New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE

e-bike, batteries, raise, safety, concerns, rise

According to Mike Fritz, a chief technology officer for micromobility industry consulting firm Human Powered Solutions, the economics of the 500 e-bike points towards concerns with the quality of the bike’s battery. Just to buy a high-quality battery costs around 750. A complete bike that costs less than that amount raises questions about the quality of the battery and other components.

Some manufacturers have cut corners to lower manufacturing costs, according to Jack Hao of battery manufacturer Phylion. This includes reusing parts of used battery packs from electric cars, which can increase the likelihood of a fire hazard, he said.

Combined with a weak regulatory environment in the U.S., consumers are sometimes left with poor options, said Percy Chien, the executive chairman of the Taiwan-based Fairly Bike Manufacturing Company.

How lithium-ion batteries fail

A battery charges or releases energy by moving an electron-carrying ion between a node and a cathode, across a semipermeable barrier, Fritz said. If that barrier begins to fail and overheat because of a manufacturing defect or from an issue stemming from a faulty charger, an electrolyte liquid in the battery will begin to boil, trigger a pressure release valve, and push a gas out of the battery, which can then ignite when interacting with outside air.

An e-bike battery, which is made of dozens of small battery cells about the size of an AA battery, can cause a cascading chain reaction where one cell triggers other cells to fail, which can lead to a fire or an explosion in a worse-case scenario, he said.

A combination of cheap batteries, mismatched chargers, overuse, damage from weather, poor servicing, and other factors can combine to create deadly consequences, according to Fritz.

Keith Moravick, a vice president of engineering for Swiftmile, a manufacturer of charging systems for LEVs, noted factors that can cause battery deterioration include poor management system communicating between the battery and charger, a lack of weatherproofing for electric connectors, and the damage possibly done to a removable battery that is knocked around.

According to multiple industry experts, a move towards requiring UL standards for all batteries sold would reduce the risk of fires; however, the CPSC is only recommending such a standard at the moment.

Chris Nolte, founder of New York retailer Propel Electric Bikes, which only sells UL-certified Bosch batteries, said the issue has been mainly centralized in New York City in recent years, which is why the federal government has been slow to crackdown on the problem.

“I feel that the federal government likely will step in by 2024 and require a certification,” Nolte said.

E-Bike Battery Recycling Program Announced In The US

E-bike battery recycling is just getting started in the US, but already, more than 36,000 pounds of batteries have been processed.

PeopleForBikes encourages people to ride bicycles and governments to improve facilities for bicyclists. Call2Recycle helps people recycle the batteries in their electronic devices responsibly. Together, they have created the Hungry For Batteries program that focuses on recycling e-bike battery systems in the US.

The new program says that millions of electric bikes are being ridden on roads and trails across the US today. Those e-bikes are helping Americans replace car trips, reduce their personal carbon footprint, and access the countless benefits and joys of the great outdoors. With those bikes, there are also millions of lithium-ion batteries that will need to be properly managed at their end of life.

The bicycle industry recently came together to establish a battery recycling program to reduce negative impacts on our planet by removing e-bike batteries from our waste streams. The new program, powered by Call2Recycle and endorsed by PeopleForBikes, has already recycled more than 36,000 pounds of batteries.

The Hungry for Batteries campaign coordinates electric bike battery disposal for 52 e-bike brands and suppliers. It includes more than 1,800 retail drop-off locations in the United States, a vast network that should make recycling much simpler for cyclists.

According to Cycling Tips, riders who own an e-bike from one of the participating brands can drop their e-bike battery off at the dealership where they purchased their bicycle. That dealer then works with Call2Recycle to transport the battery to a local sorter or recycler.

Each dealer is trained to collect the battery using special recycling kits. Batteries that have been compromised in some way — swelling, loose wires showing, or obvious signs that the battery has been tampered with — go into one kit, while uncompromised batteries go into another kit. The dealer then works with Call2Recycle, which adds the batteries to its recycling stream.

The goal is always to keep the battery close to its original starting point, according to Call2Recycle. There’s no point in transporting a battery long distances to be recycled if it can be done closer so less energy is used. Call2Recycle currently works with Redwood Materials, Li-Cycle, RCI, and Interco. Once a recycler receives a battery, it determines how much of it is reusable and proceeds to extract the materials and minerals contained inside. Up to 90% of a battery submitted for recycling can be completely reused to make more batteries.

E-Bike Battery Recycling Is Just Beginning

PeopleForBikes points out that “Hungry for Batteries” is far from a finished project. The original program started in November of 2021 through a partnership with Specialized, Call2Recycle, and PeopleForBikes. Since then, other brands and their retailers have been brought on board. The program focuses on making sure retailers receive the correct training so they can handle the returned batteries properly. With that training completed, the e-bike battery recycling process will be able to run as smoothly as possible.

The “Hungry for Batteries” program is about educating the public about how to recycle an e-bike battery responsibly. It features Watts, a character that may look familiar to fans of The Muppets. PeopleForBikes says it plans to introduce more characters and more stories that aim to educate the public about why recycling an e-bike battery is important and how to properly maintain the batteries used in e-bikes.

Responsible E-Bike Battery Recycling

Most of us are aware of the number of battery fires in the news recently. than a dozen people in New York City have been killed in fires attributed to faulty batteries in e-bikes, electric scooters, and hoverboards. The problem is the batteries in these products do not have a cooling system like most electric cars have.

EVs have elaborate battery management systems, but an e-bike battery typically has a rudimentary BMS at best. Many of the fires reported to date involve batteries that are being charged. Industry experts urge people not to leave the batteries connected to chargers overnight. They recommend the charger be disconnected as soon as the e-bike battery is fully charged.

Most CleanTechnica readers know that the lithium in a battery can create microscopic spikes called dendrites when the battery is charged or discharged. If those spikes of metal touch both the anode and cathode inside a battery cell, they create a short circuit. When that happens, the battery cell can quickly reach temperatures of 500º C. What takes place next is known in the battery business politely as “Rapid disassembly.” Most of us would simply call it an explosion. If one cell overheats, that can cause adjoining cells to overheat, and soon there is a full-on conflagration.

Lithium-ion battery fires are not new, but the number of devices powered by batteries has increased dramatically, which means the total number of fires has increased as well, even if statistically the odds of any one battery cell catching fire is infinitesimally small.

Most of the batteries for personal mobility devices like electric bicycles come from China. Consumers know little about the battery cells inside their e-bike battery pack. Who made them? Do they all come from the same manufacturer? Are cells from different companies with different electrical properties being thrown together to make battery packs? We simply don’t know, and so we rely on the integrity of the bicycle manufacturer to keep us safe.

There is a move afoot to bring some order to the chaos of batteries for personal transportation devices. One suggestion is for consumers to insist that the battery pack for their e-bike carry the Underwriters Laboratory seal of approval. UL has been promoting the safety of electrical devices for generations, but it tests only a fraction of the batteries used today in e-bikes, scooters, hoverboards, and the like. Requiring the UL seal would be a big step forward for safety, but could limit the number of battery-operated personal mobility devices available for sale to the public.

The one thing everyone agrees with is that people absolutely, positively must not dispose of lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Sadly, it is much too easy to do precisely that. America needs more battery recycling programs. The materials inside an e-bike battery are much too precious to discard in a landfill, and the risk of a catastrophic fire that could injure innocent people is too great.

To find one of the 1,800 e-bike dealers in America that participates in the battery recycling program near you, check the Hungry For Batteries website. Only batteries from participating manufacturers are accepted.

The program does not address the issue of recycling the battery in an e-bike purchased online. Before you buy for a digital retailer, you may want to inquire about its recycling policy. If it says it doesn’t have one, you may want to look elsewhere.

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How to Charge an E-Bike for Maximum Battery Life

From safe charging to the longest possible lifespan, here’s everything you need to know about your electric bike’s power source.

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If you bought a bike in the last couple years, chances are good it’s an e-bike. Electric bicycles are the fastest-growing type of bike in the U.S. today; in 2021 they surpassed road bikes as the third biggest category of bikes overall and in 2022 e-bike sales were over 800 million. E-bikes still outsell electric cars, and for good reason. The lightweight electric motor on an e-bike gives a powerful boost to all kinds of riding, especially utility cycling like commuting and errands. (Plus, there is a nice tax incentive for some e-bike riders.)

At the heart of that system is a powerful lithium-based battery. Taking proper care of that battery and knowing how to properly charge it is key to safely getting the best range and long-term battery life. Here’s what you need to know about charging your e-bike battery.

Safe charging basics

You should charge your battery inside, on the proper charger, and with the motor system powered off, says Kunal Kapoor, senior manager for quality and compliance at Bosch, a leading supplier of e-bike motor systems. While e-bike motors, batteries, and wiring are weather-resistant, “chargers aren’t intended for outdoor use,” he notes.

Using the proper charger is primarily a safety issue. With a modern lithium battery, Kapoor continues, when the battery signals it’s ready to accept a charge, “the battery monitoring system in the charger makes sure that the temperatures inside the battery are optimum to receive the charge,” and shuts off if needed. An off-brand charger—even rated to the same output—doesn’t have all the features of that battery management system, so current can flow to the battery even if temperatures rise, which is a fire risk.

Related Story

The risk of battery fires is low, but Kapoor recommends people not leave batteries unattended while charging. You can leave the battery on the bike to charge or take it off, as long as it’s not sitting on or near flammable stuff (like the spare gas can in the garage, for example). If you’re looking at lower-priced e-bikes with house-brand or unbranded motor and battery systems, make sure the battery and charger carry a UL 2849 certification stamp from Underwriters Laboratories. This is the industry-wide standard for safe electric systems and battery charging for e-bikes. Some bike shops won’t work on e-bikes with motor and battery systems that lack this stamp, citing fire risk when left overnight in the store.

How to optimize battery range and lifespan

Let’s start with some definitions. Range is essentially runtime: how long a battery will last on a single charge, expressed in miles of riding. Range, even on the same bike, will vary; a flat commute to the office with just a light backpack will see better range than a fully loaded uphill ride home from Costco. Most e-bikes today get between 25-75 miles of range, depending on these factors.

Lifespan is how many times a battery can be discharged and recharged before it starts to lose significant capacity. When capacity starts to dip, you won’t notice less power while riding, but you will see range start to shrink. A common lifespan benchmark for e-bike batteries is 500 “full” discharge/re-charge cycles (if you use half the battery capacity and recharge, that’s half a cycle), which works out to about three to five years of normal use before capacity begins to drop noticeably.

Even though battery range and lifespan aren’t the same thing, they are linked, and actions that reduce range will also, over time, shorten lifespan. A big culprit, Kapoor says, is running the motor hard, like leaving it in Boost or Turbo mode all the time, which means a ride of a given distance relies progressively more on motor power than at lower assist levels. You’ll run the battery through charging cycles more quickly, which will shorten its life.

A less-obvious factor that strains motors and batteries is pedal cadence. Most e-bike motors are optimized for efficiency around a 70-90 rpm pedaling cadence. You can lower efficiency by pedaling too fast (Bosch motors, for instance, max out at 100-120 rpm depending on the system). common is sub-optimal efficiency from pedaling too slowly in a large gear. This is the same as “lugging the engine” in a car; whether gas or electric, the motor works harder. “Choose your gears wisely,” says Kapoor, to stay in that 70-90 rpm sweet spot.

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Mistakes that kill your battery

When you buy a new e-bike, you should charge the battery to full before riding it because it’s likely been inactive for a while. But lithium batteries do not have “memory;” that is, they do not need to be fully discharged and fully recharged every time to hold their full capacity. In fact, it’s best if you don’t run a battery to zero, says Kapoor. “If you let the battery deplete completely, that may permanently damage it,” he says, and it will never recharge to its full original capacity.

If you’ll go a few weeks or more without riding the bike, store it (or at least the battery) in a dry, room-temperature space with the battery between 30-60 percent of full charge, says Kapoor. That’s the most stable level for long-term storage, and will lower the chance of a deep discharge that would damage your battery. Don’t leave your battery plugged in to the charger for long periods. It’s not necessary, and can create a short discharge/recharge cycle that will eventually reduce capacity. If you go long periods without riding the bike, check the battery charge monthly and partly recharge when it drops below 30 percent.

Lithium batteries are less affected by cold weather than other types of battery and you shouldn’t see reduced range while riding unless the temperatures are truly arctic. But researchers at the Department of Energy recently found storing lithium batteries below freezing for longer periods can damage part of the battery’s cathode, which will reduce its capacity. Lithium batteries also won’t charge effectively in cold temperatures. If you store your bike outside or in an unheated space and live in an area with sub-freezing temps, says Kapoor, bring the battery inside when not in use.

Also, keep your battery protected from extreme heat, like sitting next to a sunny window or a hot car. Excess heat can raise battery temperature enough to damage its components; in an extreme situation, it can contribute to what’s called thermal runaway, where a battery enters an unstable, uncontrollable self-heating state that can result in fire.

You don’t need to recharge after every ride. Topping off your battery sounds Smart, but over time it will reduce capacity more quickly. If you get 50 miles of range from a charge and ride 10 miles a day, you only need to recharge every three to four days.

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When it’s time to replace

Even if you take great care of a battery, over time it will lose capacity. You’ll notice this on your bike’s range estimate on the controller unit. Capacity is a primary indicator of the health of a battery, so if you notice your range dropping to 70 percent or less of what it was when your bike was new, that’s a sign to start planning a replacement. If your battery is less than two years old and is well under original capacity, it might be a warranty claim (terms vary by manufacturer).

If it’s not a warranty issue, the decision on when to replace is personal preference, says Kapoor. “If you got 50 miles (of range) out of the battery originally and let’s say now you get 40, I wouldn’t classify it as ‘end of life’ if you can live with that 40-mile range,” he says. A battery with reduced capacity should still be safe, Kapoor adds.

Always purchase a name-brand replacement for your battery. Just as batteries and chargers should be paired, batteries and motors are designed to work together. And, says Kapoor, never try to repair a damaged battery or let someone else do it. Despite guides that claim you can, this is not just corporate greed or legal butt-covering by manufacturers. While e-bike batteries are almost always made from standard 18650 cells that are widely used in various products (even electric cars), those cells have a variety of different chemistries, capacities, and amperages, and that’s before we even get into connecting a string of them and repackaging the battery in the housing. The slightest mistake in any of that increases fire risk. If you need a new battery, just buy one.

Dealers that sell your brand of bike can order you a direct replacement for that bike or motor brand. Costs vary depending on battery size and brand, but plan on spending 400-800 for a new unit.

A dealer can also recycle your old one. A new program from Call 2 Recycle offers free e-bike battery recycling (paid for by bike and motor brands) through partner shops in almost every major city and many smaller ones. No participating dealers near you? Request an easy DIY shipping kit online.

Why recycle? Even a spent battery contains raw materials that can be re-made into fresh ones, at moderately less energy cost and less environmental damage than producing from virgin materials. Spent lithium batteries also have a fire risk in landfills and can leach toxic metals and other chemicals into the soil and air.

In case of fire

Though rare, battery fires do happen. If your battery gets hot to the touch while charging, unplug the charger from the wall immediately. If you can, put the battery in a metal container like a bucket (better yet, one filled with sand) away from anything flammable.

But if it’s not safe to handle, call 911 right away and tell the dispatcher that you have a lithium battery fire, which requires different firefighting methods than conventional fires. Don’t pour water on a battery fire; water and lithium react to produce hydrogen, which is highly flammable. A standard fire extinguisher may help, but in the event of a fire, special tools may be needed.

Lithium-Ion Batteries in E-Bikes and Other Devices Pose Fire Risks

The batteries, also found in phones, laptops, toothbrushes and other items, have caused about 200 fires and six deaths in New York City this year, fire officials say. Here’s what to know about safety.

A lithium-ion battery in an apartment with at least five e-bikes caused a fire in Manhattan this month that injured almost 40 people. The fire, which was one of 188 caused by lithium-ion batteries in New York City this year, led to warnings about risks associated with the batteries and ways to minimize them.

Lithium-ion batteries power devices in every corner of our lives, including phones, laptops, toothbrushes, power tools and electric vehicles. But many don’t know how to handle them safely or that they might start fires.

How do lithium-ion batteries work?

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, last a long time and store a lot of energy in a small space. That has made them the most popular power source in electronic devices and vehicles, said Victoria Hutchison, a research project manager at the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

When a failing battery overheats, it can violently eject gas, projectiles and flames, then spread like a chain reaction to the other cells, she said.

Battery fires are quick and destructive.

Fires involving lithium-ion batteries have become more common in New York City: Six people died and 139 have been injured as a result of battery-caused fires so far this year, according to the New York Fire Department. Last year, the batteries were connected to fires that resulted in four deaths and 79 injuries, the department said.

The battery that caused a Nov. 5 fire was charging near the front door of an apartment, blocking its only exit and prompting firefighters to conduct a rope rescue of two occupants. And in August, a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery killed a mother and daughter in Harlem.

These fires can occur without warning and spread quickly, the chief fire marshal, Daniel E. Flynn, said at a Nov. 7 news conference.

“We have a fully formed fire within a matter of seconds,” he said.

The damage from a fire caused by lithium-ion batteries inside a Manhattan apartment this month. Credit. Fire Department of New York, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Take these simple steps to reduce the risk of batteries failing.

One out of every 10 million lithium-ion batteries fails, a condition that almost always leads to a fire, Ms. Hutchison said. While that is a relatively low rate, the batteries are being used in more devices, including cheaper, uncertified batteries with greater risk, she said. Customers should always buy batteries and devices that have been certified by UL or another safety testing lab.

Fires have also been started because people have used chargers incompatible with a battery, she said. They should only use the charging cables recommended by a manufacturer, she said. An incompatible one might continue to charge the battery to the point of overheating.

“Once it reaches its thermal threshold, it’s a pretty violent reaction,” Ms. Hutchison said.

Lithium-ion batteries show signs that they need to be replaced if they get hot, expand or take longer than usual to charge, Ms. Hutchison said. Immediately before failure, a battery will make a popping noise and then a hiss in which gas is released. Experts recommend storing them in fireproof containers.

Even a battery that complies with safety guidelines when it’s first purchased can become dangerous if it’s damaged, said William S. Lerner, a hydrogen expert and delegate for ISO, an organization for global standardization.

“These batteries can be of the highest quality, but if they are injured and dropped and severely beaten up, then the potential to fail is greater,” he said.

e-bike, batteries, raise, safety, concerns, rise

Food couriers rely on e-bikes in New York City. The bikes grew in popularity during the pandemic as people sought alternatives to public transportation and ride-sharing services. Credit. Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet for The New York Times

It’s a widespread problem but not well-regulated.

No large-scale database keeps track of battery-caused fires, Mr. Lerner said. But the fires have occurred around the world.

The popularity of e-bikes in New York City grew during the pandemic as people looked for alternatives to public transportation and ride-sharing services, Mr. Lerner said. But their use increased before the government could put guidelines in place.

The New York City Housing Authority had proposed a ban on storing e-bikes in buildings but faced pushback from people like food couriers whose jobs depend on them. The authority said it is still working on steps for a proposed new rule.

The issue remains top of mind for housing managers. A sign outside the Manhattan apartment complex where the fire this month occurred read, “No pedal or e-bikes allowed beyond this point.”

The City Council is considering several battery safety measures and held a hearing Monday night. Laws that would ban sales of noncertified batteries and require educating people about the risks of powered mobility devices are among the measures being considered.

Leny Feliu, a founder of Safer Charging, said her brother is a delivery person. “He makes his money that way and I want him to continue to make his money, but we need to provide a safe way of charging these items,” she said.

The property management companies Douglas Elliman and AKAM, which oversee about 700 apartment complexes in New York City, have begun to communicate with residents and managers about lithium-ion battery safety.

“We want to be proactive, not reactive,” said Chris Alker, the vice president of operations for AKAM. “We don’t want to wait for a fire in order to address situations like these.”

e-bike, batteries, raise, safety, concerns, rise

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