Should You Get An Electric Bike or Scooter?
Micromobility has rapidly gained popularity around the world and has become a popular mode of transport for many users. Of these, e-bikes and e-scooters are receiving the most attention and favor.
Contrary to previous years, electric bicycles and scooters are no longer mainly for sports or recreational purposes. People now commute with them while carrying out their daily activities. This could also result from the pandemic rules and restrictions. People were mandated to maintain social distancing during the period. Since these transport modes are not always crowded as public vehicles, they become the next available options. However, you may wonder if there are any differences between e-bikes and e-scooter. Read further to find out more information.
Overview of E-Scooter
Electric scooters features are a combination of motor and bicycle, with a two-wheeled mechanism. Riders either ride with their power alone or combine their strength and motor assistance. The convectional scooter was typical in past years. Contrary to the popular e-scooter in operation today, the conventional scooter lacks an electric motor, battery, and other electronic devices. In this case, the main difference between the e-scooter and the convectional type is how they are electrically powered.
E-scooters have a wide turning radius that allows riders to maneuver safely while on a trip. They also use batteries as their power source. In most cases, manufacturers use the lead-acid battery type. You can tilt the scooter backward or forward or leave it in your preferred position. The two main technicalities of e-scooters are the brake operations. Once an e-scooter has been confirmed to have two brake systems, manufacturers go ahead to install the rear and front lights.
Overview of E-bike
Electric bikes are also equipped with a motor, which is able to offer assistance for riding. However, riders do not get this assistance until they request it. The exciting aspect is that every rider is allowed to regulate the assist level generated from the e-bike. They also have a controller, which is sometimes in the frame region. The function of the controller is to update you on the battery level as you ride. Electric bicycles usually have similar features to bicycles, but lithium-ion batteries stand it out. They emit no carbon, and riders can cover longer distances with e-bikes than an e-scooter.
An e-bike motor can either be installed as a rear hub or mid-drive. Meanwhile, the location of each motor system defines its category. The mid-drive motor is an installation focused on the e-bike’s central and crank. The Honbike newly launched Uni4 model uses a high ratio rear hub motor. The hub motor is highly effective and does not consume excess battery. This enables riders to cover more distances. Uni4 owners can be sure to cover 90km on a single charge.
What Are Differences?
Knowing what e-bikes and e-scooter are, let’s delve into their differences.
Although electric scooters are being adopted beyond recreational purposes, they are not used for commuting as much as e-bikes. It is rare to see e-scooters on sidewalks, but they are famous on-street bike lanes. On the other hand, e-bikes can be seen in bicycle areas and bike lanes. Manufacturers also design many different electric bikes such as mountain bikes, electric commuter bikes. electric folding bikes.
Convenience and Comfort Level
Generally, research has shown that more people prefer to use an e-bike than an e-scooter. The comfort or convenience level an individual gets from both sides varies with body weight. Some people may find it more comfortable to stand on an e-scooter, while others are more convenient with full balance while riding on the electric bicycle. Manufacturers install big tires and frames in an e-bike to support additional weights.
Riders can also choose from a wide range of available electric bicycles. Hence, there is a higher chance of selecting an e-bike that is best comfortable for you. It does not imply that e-scooters do not provide comfort as well. However, they will have a suspension system supporting the extra rider’s weight. Once these suspension systems are in e-scooters, they become more challenging to carry around. However, convenience is relative, and the purpose of commuting will determine the best option for you. If you are commuting to carry out several daily activities, you need an e-bike.
Generally, electric scooters are known to be more light-weighted than e-bikes. This is because e-bikes have additional electric components, such as the frame and handlebar. Most e-scooter users can also easily fold it and take it everywhere. Also, the weight of e-scooters is barely above 40lbs. As a result, an electric power bike that falls within this range will be considered highly minor. Meanwhile, product brand is a factor many people have failed to consider. It influences how an e-bike turns out to be, particularly the weight.
The HF01 model released by Honbike is foldable, making it easy for users to carry around, as they would have done with an e-scooter. The e-bike lacks a suspension system and uses a belt drive instead of a chain drive. It reduces the weight a rider would have experienced from taking a whole e-bike around. Also, this folding electric bike weighs 20.8kg. This is close to most e-scooters and lighter than many e-bikes you will see.
Safety and Cost
Your transportation needs should also influence how much you are willing to spend on your electric vehicles based on personal preferences and tastes. Although electric bikes are more costly than scooters, it is an item that is worth every investment. It offers excellent services to users, and you can enjoy it for commuting as much as possible. On the other hand, there are some high-standard e-scooter.
Another aspect of cost to consider is the resale value. Investing in electric bicycle will likely yield more profit because you can resell them at a higher price than e-scooters. It is also much cheaper to replace an e-scooter battery than e-bikes because they mostly use lead acid. The lead-acid battery is also cheap but not as durable as the lithium-ion battery operated in most e-bikes. However, it may take a lot to maintain an e-bike compared to an e-scooter. Most e-scooter users only replace the battery once in a while.
In terms of safety, e-bike is better than e-scooter. The latter is pretty close to the ground, so moving vehicles barely see them quickly from afar. Also, the wheels of most e-scooters are usually small, so they do not respond well to road bumps. Since e-bikes are designed with much larger wheels, they can handle rough roads or bumps.
Generally, an e-bike will outrun an electric scooter, primarily when used among cyclists. However, manufacturers’ input also influences the weight of an e-bike. If the battery and motor added to the e-bike are heavy, it will affect its weight. The maximum speed an e-scooter can attain is usually lower than that of e-bikes. However, e-bikes’ top speed varies with class and country.
The three classes of e-bikes are class one, class two, and class three. You should also find out the legal speed allowed to ride a particular e-bike class in your country. Most countries usually have a maximum speed range between 28km/h and 32km/h. For instance, the speed limit in New York is 25km/h. Hence, it beats the top speed for most countries and is also the best product for Europe residents.
Since electric bicycles and scooters have two wheels, it may be challenging to identify their differences. However, each has main differences that every prospective user needs to know before making a purchase. These differences have been highlighted above in this article, and hopefully, they will help you make the right choice.
Electric Bike vs Electric Scooter: Which Is the Better Option for You
When it comes to electric transportation, there are a lot of options to choose from. You can go with an electric bike, an electric scooter, or even an electric skateboard. So, which is the better option for you? In this article, we will compare and contrast these three different types of electric transportation and help you decide which one is best for you!
Comfort and Convenience
When it comes to comfort and convenience, the electric bike definitely takes the cake. It has a comfortable seat and handlebars, which makes it easy to ride for long distances. Additionally, because it is classified as a bicycle, you can use it just about anywhere – even on trails! Electric scooters are not quite as versatile as electric bikes. Although they do have comfortable seats and handlebars, their small size makes it hard to ride for long distances. Additionally, because of their capacity to travel at high speeds (up to 15 mph), electric scooters are often banned from sidewalks and trails. This means that you can only use them on the road – which is not very safe!
Electric scooters are capable of traveling at speeds up to 20 mph. This is a good speed for light cruising around the city or campus. If you need more speed, there are some models that can reach 25-30 mph. Electric bikes typically have three riding modes: The first mode has limited power and allows you to travel with pedal assist only (no throttle). The other two modes allow you to use the full power of your electric bike’s motor but still require pedaling. Most electric bikes come equipped with both a pedal assist motor and a throttle, so it is entirely up to you how much energy you want to exert while riding an eBike; however, if having complete control over your ride like on an electric scooter is more your speed, then you may want to consider a scooter instead.
In terms of acceleration, electric bikes are usually faster than electric scooters. They have the ability to accelerate using just the throttle or with pedal assist (but this requires some effort on your part). Electric scooters generally don’t offer any type of pedaling assistance so they can only be accelerated by twisting their handlebars. This means that there is no way for an electric scooter rider to increase his/her power output unless he/she uses pure physical energy from pushing off with one’s feet and legs after being stopped at a red light for example; which isn’t always possible when trying to beat traffic!
Electric bikes and electric scooters both offer a great way to get around town, but there are some key differences between the two. The most obvious difference is range – an electric bike can go up to 50 miles on a single charge, while an electric scooter typically has a range of only about 15 miles. If you need to cover longer distances, an electric bike is the better option; if your commute is shorter than 15 miles, an electric scooter will work just fine.
Electric bikes are heavier and more stable than an electric scooter. Their structure is built to withstand the weight of a person riding it, making them less likely to tip over while in use. Electric scooters can be easily unbalanced, especially when they hit a curb or other obstacle on the road.
If you’re looking for something that feels safe and secure, an electric bike would be your best choice. Plus, there’s no need to worry about falling off due to its size and weight!
Which is more cost effective: Ebike or Escooter?
Electric bikes and electric scooters both have their pros and cons, but which one is the better option for you? It really depends on your needs. Ebikes are more cost effective in the long run because they are powered by pedaling, whereas escooters are powered by electricity and require a battery that will eventually need to be replaced. However, if you’re looking for something that’s quick and easy to use without having to pedal, then an escooter might be a better option for you. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you need and want out of your transportation mode. If you have any questions about whether ebikes or escooters are right for you, feel free to contact us!
Electric bikes and electric scooters both have their pros and cons, but which one is the better option for you? It really depends on your needs. Ebikes are more cost effective in the long run because they are powered by pedaling, whereas escooters are powered by electricity and require a battery that will eventually need to be replaced. However, if you’re looking for something that’s quick and easy to use without having to pedal, then an escooter might be a better option for you. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you need from your mode of transportation; whether it be speed or convenience!
If this article has helped clarify any questions about ebikes vs escooters for YOU personally – please let us know.
Electric Bikes vs Electric Scooters: Which One Should You Choose?
Micromobility has arrived. Personal electric vehicles are solving last mile problems and replacing car trips as major cities move away from car-centric infrastructure. Increasingly, commuters are realizing how much faster and easier it is to get to work on an electric scooter or e-bike than it is to sit through dreaded rush hour traffic or live at the mercy of unreliable public transportation systems.
When it comes to which personal electric vehicle is best, the choice between an e-bike or e-scooter might already be made for you by some critical factors, including portability and storage capacity. Can you fit a full-sized electric bike in your tiny studio apartment? Carry one up the stairs in your building with no elevator? If not, you’re probably leaning toward a scooter or a maybe a small, folding electric bike.
But there are many other considerations, especially if you’re just figuring out how to transition from more traditional modes of getting around.
Some other points of comparison include the need to access other modes of transportation easily or to carry larger loads; the distances you typically have to travel; or a desire to get some optional exercise along the way. Both energy-efficient options are excellent choices in their own right, but these are very different kinds of vehicles, as we’ll see.
Comfort and Convenience
If you asked 3-4 people to name the ideal personal electric vehicle you might get 3-4 different answers. Bodies and needs vary. Some people might find riding an electric bike challenging or impossible. For others, standing and balancing on a scooter or skateboard can be too difficult. For a number of riders, an electric bike may simply be the most comfortable option.
Most electric bikes have large frames and tires to accommodate the added weight of the battery and motor. Electric mountain and hybrid bikes also include full or partial suspension systems, which are as useful on bumpy, potholed city streets as they are on the trail. If comfort is your main concern, you might consider the huge range of electric bikes, which do come in lighter, folding options to better meet a need for portability.
That’s not, however, to say that electric scooters don’t offer a comfortable ride—they do. Many high-performance models even feature large pneumatic tires and suspension systems, though at the cost of a larger vehicle that may not be easy to fold or carry and can weigh as much as an e-bike. For most people, these heavy add-ons defeat one of the primary reasons for owning a scooter—convenience.
Most lightweight, durable scooters like Unagi’s Model One—which comes in at under 30 pounds in both its single and dual motor versions—ride smoothly and comfortably over level pavement and can easily be folded and stowed in a closet or carried onto public transportation. Electric bikes, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds.
But convenience is a relative term. If you plan on using an electric vehicle to do your regular shopping or move kids from place to place, there’s no better choice among the range of options than a heavy-duty electric bike with a large rack, extra seating, and cargo capacity. If you want to pound the pedals and get a workout on your commute, a lighter-weight electric bike might suit you best. If your ideal mode of transport is weaving through the traffic, traveling light, and having the option to easily grab a taxi or hop on a bus or train, a lightweight folding electric scooter should be the clear choice.
Speed and Range
It’s true that the majority of electric bikes will outperform most lightweight e-scooters in top speeds, though there are, of course, exceptions. In order to keep weight down, scooter manufacturers equip their vehicles with smaller batteries and motors. Most electric scooters tend to top out at speeds of 22 mph, where electric bikes may reach speeds of up to 30 mph or more. But if you’re riding in heavy traffic or on crowded city streets, speed may not be a foremost concern.
E-scooters are sleek and nimble and can easily maneuver around cars and other vehicles that slow cyclists down. In a comparison between several different personal electric vehicles, one Electrek reviewer writes, “I rarely felt like needed to go faster than the scooter’s top speed because I had to slow down to pass cars anyways. With such a thin vehicle, it was easy to slide between and around cars that were stuck in traffic when on streets that didn’t have a bike lane.”
It’s also true that electric bikes will generally have much longer ranges and will therefore work best for longer commutes and adventures, though their larger batteries can take more time to charge. Many people who choose to purchase an electric bike live in low-density areas with lots of roads and trails and longer distances to cover. Scooter buyers, on the other hand, might tend to live in large cities where lower speeds and ranges are worthy tradeoffs for convenience, portability, and maneuverability.
Cost and Safety
Cost is certainly not the least consideration when deciding between an electric bike and electric scooter. If you need to haul things, spending the extra money on an electric bike may be the preferable (or only) option. That said, not all e-bikes cost more than high-end electric scooters (just as not all e-bikes are as harder to carry and store). The amount of money you’re willing and able to invest in a personal electric vehicle will greatly depend on your specific budget and transportation needs.
Price differences tend to be negligible between higher-cost electric scooters and lower-end electric bikes. On the other hand, some high-performance, specialty, and cargo electric bikes can set you back several thousand dollars. You can purchase an electric scooter of similar quality and durability, like the Unagi Model One, for under a thousand dollars. It’s also worth considering that the scooter will be far more theft resistant.
Electric bikes are at a much higher risk of theft because of high resale and because they must be left outside on most trips. This makes cost of ownership go up due to expensive bike locks and e-bike insurance. Electric bikes also require far more maintenance than well-made e-scooters, which may need no more than a battery replacement every few years.
When it comes to riding safely, an electric bike can be a better option on the road than an electric scooter. There are several reasons for this, some having to do with the design of the vehicles themselves: scooters are lower to the ground and their wheels are much smaller, so they don’t handle bumps and jolts nearly as well. Scooter riders are also less visible to drivers than cyclists are.
However, some significant reasons for the disparity come down to rider behavior, as the Electric Scooter Guide points out. We are conditioned from early childhood to take bike safety seriously, but “for 20 years we have ridden kick scooters” like the Razor “as a toy, and all-of-a-sudden we see one on the street, not realizing these new devices are more akin to a motorcycle than the toy we used to know.” Maybe for this reason, e-scooter riders are much less likely than cyclists to wear helmets, and thus more likely to be seriously injured.
As we’ve noted, the choice between an electric bike and an electric scooter (if you have to choose!) can depend on a number of variables that differ widely between individual riders. No personal electric vehicle is designed to meet every possible transportation need. When it comes, however, to cost, convenience, and ease of use, electric scooters might just be the best option for the majority of urban commuters and riders-about-town.
Here’s how we solved the mystery of what this viral video truly showed.
Published Nov 30, 2022
A video shows a sea of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned because of the high cost of EV battery replacement.
On Nov. 28, 2022, the @Xx17965797N account tweeted a video with a misleading caption that claimed the clip showed a sea of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned because of the high cost of electric vehicle (EV) battery replacement. The tweet read, “Electric green scooters that have reached end of battery life. Due to the batteries being so expensive to replace, electric scooters are abandoned because disposing of them any other way is dangerous and expensive.”
This was not true, despite the tens of thousands of combined retweets and likes that the tweet received.
The same video upload from @Xx17965797N was also misleadingly reshared by accounts including @PeterDClack, @JamesMelville, and @MillerForTexas. The former two tweets received thousands of engagements, despite the fact that the information pushed in the original tweet was not true.
In cases like these where a caption is incorrect but the picture or video is real, we issue a fact-check rating of “Miscaptioned.”
The Origins of the Video
Days before the @Xx17965797N tweet was posted, the @ElevaBrasilES account also misleadingly tweeted that the same video was shot in France. The tweet went up on Nov. 21 with an incorrect caption that read, “Green energy… Cemetery of electric motorcycles in France. Now designated as a ‘biohazard zone.'” (Note: This mention of France reminded us of other rumors we’ve debunked in the past, in particular about two photos of other car graveyards. The two pictures showed false captions that claimed the cars had been abandoned due to the high cost of battery replacement, just like the video we’re looking at in this fact check.)
The oldest upload of the video that we could find came from TikTok user @smartsetting. The video was uploaded on Nov. 7 and by the end of the month had received nearly 5 million views.
Based on watching the video, the scooters appeared to be parked in a parking lot near a basketball court, perhaps in a university complex or public park. Several blurry Chinese characters were visible on the side of the bikes. At the end of the clip, a tall building could be seen on the right-hand side of the frame. Other than those pieces of information, we didn’t have much to go on.
How We Researched the Rumor
In order to find the truth behind this video, we first used Adobe Media Encoder to export a JPEG file for each and every frame from the video. The results of this export were 440 individual images from the 14-second video. We then performed numerous reverse image searches with these picture files using Google Images and TinEye.com. These reverse image searches provided several clues as to where other users had reposted the video. However, we did not find any further details from these searches.
Next, we tried several searches on Google. and YouTube with phrases such as “electric scooter China” and “electric bike graveyard China,” among other terms. This helped to find several reposts of the video. The searches also showed results for many of the sites in China that are the final resting places for massive stacks of bicycles dumped by bike-sharing companies with failed business models. Perhaps the most striking video we found was titled, “No Place To Place——The Wonders of Shared Bicycle Graveyards in China.”
At one point in our research, we stumbled upon an AFP video from 2021 that appeared to show the same yellow color and model of electric scooter bike. The caption for the clip said that it was captured “outside the city of Shenyang.” The end of the video showed a stadium with special colors for seating zones.
After an exhaustive search, we were able to find this same stadium by using the map tools on the Chinese website Baidu.com. Unlike Google Maps, Baidu.com has street-level views of nearby roads. However, this part of our effort wasn’t very helpful. It remained unclear if this was the same location where the viral clip was shot.
Finally, a Lead
In the end, it was going back to TikTok that helped us find the origins of the video. A search on TikTok for “electric share bike China” brought us to this video from @evstevepan. The video showed the same kind of yellow electric scooter bike with a similar logo. A scan of the logo using a mobile phone camera and Google Translate revealed the company name Meituan, which is known as an “all-encompassing platform for local services.”
The logos appeared to be similar. (Courtesy: @smartsetting/@evstevepan on TikTok)
We then searched the internet for Meituan and electric scooters, which produced plenty of pictures on Shutterstock.com. For a moment, the two large characters on the side of the scooter didn’t seem to match those from the viral video. We then horizontally flipped a still-frame from the viral video, which led us to discover that it had been mirrored, meaning that all words and numbers were backward.
It’s blurry, but it’s a match. “App” appears on the left, too. (Courtesy: @smartsetting/@evstevepan on TikTok)
All of these developments in our research led us to news articles that helped to show our findings were lining up.
Meituan ‘Walked Away’ from Bike-Sharing
In April 2018, news broke that Meituan had purchased the company Mobike for 2.7 billion. According to the story, Mobike is “a Chinese startup that helped pioneer bike-sharing services worldwide.”
But by November of that same year, TechCrunch reported that Meituan would be “[walking] away from bike-sharing and ride-hailing,” as there wasn’t enough demand from customers for the supply of its bike-sharing venture:
In April, Meituan entered the bike-sharing fray after it scooped up top player Mobike for 2.7 billion to face off Alibaba-backed Ofo. Over the past few years, Mobike and Ofo were burning through large sums of investor money in a bid to win users from subsidized rides, but both have shown signs of softening their stance recently.
Mobike is downsizing its fleets to “avoid an oversupply” as the bike-sharing market falters, Meituan’s chief financial officer Chen Shaohui said during the earnings call. Ofo has also scaled back by closing down many of its international operations.
During its third quarter that ended September 30, Meituan posted a 97.2 percent jump on revenues to 19.1 billion yuan, or 2.75 billion, on the back of strong growth in food delivery transactions. The firm’s investments in new initiatives – including ride-hailing and bike-sharing – took a toll as operating losses nearly tripled to 3.45 billion yuan compared to a year ago. Meituan shares plunged as much as 14 percent on Friday, the most since its spectacular listing.
Just as so many electric bicycles from bike-sharing companies had piled up across China, so had electric scooters like the ones seen in the viral video.
In sum, social media users falsely claimed that a video showed tons of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned in a “graveyard” due to the high cost of EV battery replacement. All evidence pointed to a simple answer: supply and demand. The number of electric scooter bikes and bicycles far outnumbered the number of people who requested to use them (or else they went missing or were stolen), which resulted in downsizing by some companies, and the closure of others. The clip appears to have been shot in China, although its precise location is unclear.
We reached out to Meituan for comment on Nov. 29 but did not receive a response in time for publication.
What’s driving the battery fires with e-bikes and scooters?
An electric bike parked near a Bronx supermarket that was destroyed in a fire that officials say was caused by a faulty lithium-ion scooter battery.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
As firefighters battled a five-alarm fire at a supermarket in the Bronx earlier this month, New York City officials gathered beside what they said was the cause of the fire: the blackened shell of what was once a sit-on electric scooter.
Officials said that a faulty lithium-ion battery in the scooter had suddenly burst into flame, as captured on surveillance video. The resulting fire was so intense, they said, that it enveloped the building in a matter of minutes.
“There is extraordinary damage. This entire building behind me is completely destroyed. The roof is caved in. There is nothing left. And it is all because of this one single bike,” said Laura Kavanaugh, the city’s fire commissioner.
Last week’s blaze joined the more than 200 fires in New York City last year caused by batteries from e-bikes, electric scooters and similar devices. Lithium-ion battery explosions are now the third leading cause of fires in the city, the fire department says.
Per FDNY Fire Marshals, the cause of today’s 5-alarm fire at 2096 Grand Concourse in the Bronx was a lithium-ion battery which powered a scooter. piccom/HTifRojiJo
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 5, 2023
As the popularity of so-called micromobility devices has soared across the U.S., so too have risen the number of fires associated with the lithium-ion batteries that power them.
Some lawmakers and federal regulators have taken note. Late last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it had received reports of more than 200 incidents since the start of 2021 in which micromobility devices caught fire or overheated — incidents that led to the deaths of 19 people.
“Destructive and deadly fires from lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes have reached a crisis level. The tragic loss of life from battery fires is heartbreaking and preventable,” said Commissioner Richard Trumka in December.
Read on for more about why these fires are happening and how to keep yourself safe:
Why are batteries in e-bikes and scooters vulnerable to catching fire?
Lithium-ion batteries power many rechargeable devices that are part of our modern lives: cell phones, laptops, vapes, cordless power tools and electric vehicles of all kinds, from cars to scooters to e-bikes to hoverboards.
They’re small, lightweight and powerful — but they’re also prone to overheating and catching fire, said Michael Pecht, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland. “Ever since lithium-ion batteries started to be prevalent in products, we’ve seen fires,” he said.
Fires from exploding e-bike batteries multiply in NYC — sometimes fatally
At issue is the high density of the batteries, which is a double-edged sword, said Pecht, who also serves as director of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, a university research center that consults with companies on reliability and safety issues, including batteries.
“They can provide a lot of power to our cell phones and to our computers for a relatively long period of time in a very small volume,” he said. “But because we have so much energy packed in that small volume, if there is a problem, then they’re very flammable.”
Defects or contamination in the manufacturing process can eventually lead to short circuiting or other failures.
In 2006, Dell, Apple and other major laptop makers urged millions of customers to return laptop batteries after Sony discovered a flaw in their battery manufacturing process. Chevy, Hyundai and Chrysler have all been forced to issue recalls over battery fires in electric vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 60 incidents last year in which lithium-ion batteries — mostly battery packs, vapes or cell phones — overheated, began smoking or caught fire on airplanes.
Why do there seem to be more e-bike- and scooter-related fires now?
In short, there are more fires because there are so many more e-bikes and scooters these days.
Their small size and low cost relative to gas-powered vehicles have made micromobility devices an attractive transportation and recreation option for millions of Americans. That’s especially true for those living in urban areas where parking and traffic are challenges for drivers. Electric bikes and scooters have also been embraced by delivery drivers.
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The burst in popularity is so recent that there isn’t yet much solid data about how many e-bikes, scooters and other devices are sold each year.
But what information we do have shows that their numbers are growing rapidly. The Light Electric Vehicle Association, an industry group, estimates that about 880,000 e-bikes were imported to the U.S. in 2021. That’s about double the number imported in 2020, and three times the total from 2019.
devices means more fires, experts say, especially since the industry is relatively new and unregulated, and there are a lot of different companies and products on the market.
What’s being done about it?
There’s not currently much regulation of e-bikes and scooters.
Regulation could go in several directions. One would be to require devices be certified under the safety standards recommended by Underwriter Laboratories, a group that has produced safety certifications for electric products for over a century.
Earlier this month, the New York City Council passed a package of local bills that would require all e-bikes and other electric mobility devices sold, rented or leased in the city to be certified under the appropriate UL safety standards.
Half A Million ‘Hoverboards’ Recalled Over Risk Of Fire, Explosions
The legislation also bans the sale of uncertified or used batteries. Retailers found to be in violation of the laws can be fined up to 1,000 per violation.
At the national level, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a letter in December calling on more than 2,000 manufacturers, importers and retailers to voluntarily adhere to UL safety standards for e-bikes and other micromobility devices.
Following the guidelines “significantly reduces the risk of injuries and deaths from micromobility device fires,” wrote Robert Kaye, the agency’s director of compliance and field operations. “Consumers face an unreasonable risk of fire and risk serious injury or death if their micromobility devices do not meet the level of safety provided by the relevant UL standards.”
Additionally, the agency has vowed to pursue penalties against companies who fail to inform the CPSC of safety hazards.
Recommendations to keep yourself safe
The main recommendation that comes from both the CPSC and the FDNY is to be present while you’re charging your device, and to not charge it while you’re sleeping. Unplug the device once it is fully charged.
The CPSC also recommends that you only use the charger that came included with your device and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging.
Fire officials add that you should charge your device away from flammable materials like furniture and pillows, and that you shouldn’t charge or store your device in a location that blocks your access to an exit.
When you’re buying an e-bike or other micromobility device, try to find what battery comes stocked with it, Pecht said. Does the maker of the device state where the battery is sourced from? Is the battery made by a reputable manufacturer? Experts also suggest that consumers look for batteries that have a UL certification.
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Be warned that some online sellers may falsely claim to have UL certification. Others may sell “re-wrapped” batteries, meaning counterfeit batteries produced to appear as though they’re made by reputable manufacturers.
If your battery starts to fail, it may be safest to buy a new one. “Don’t repair anything yourself, and buy from a company where you know that they’re using brand-name batteries,” Pecht said. It may work best to buy a new battery from the same company that produced your bike or scooter.
To dispose of an old battery, bring it to a battery recycling center or other e-waste facility. Don’t throw away lithium-ion batteries in conventional trash.