NYC adopts e-bike rules with FOCUS on fire safety and equity. Safest ebike battery

UL Certified Ebikes and Ebike Batteries: Full List

While shopping around for ebikes, you may be seeing references to “UL Certification.” Or maybe you’re shopping for an ebike or ebike battery that is UL listed. Let’s talk about what UL certification means, why it’s important, and where some of the top ebike brands stand in regard to UL certification.

Ebikes use a lithium battery similar to many other common household items such as cell phones, laptops, and electric toothbrushes. In rare cases, ebike batteries can get hot and even cause fires. This can happen when ebike batteries get damaged, are charged improperly or are stored incorrectly. While ebike batteries aren’t inherently dangerous it’s important to follow all recommendations from the ebike manufacturer. Some estimate that less than 15% of ebikes sold in the US have UL certification.

It is unclear how often ebikes cause fires but in New York City alone, fires number into the hundreds per year. Check out the National Fire Protection Associations’ thoughts on ebike safety, including tips to stay safe. And if you’re looking for a fire-resistant bag check out the Bikase Battery Bag. (Amazon or 15% using code “ebikeescape15” on Bikase.com). They are also available in size large.

What is UL certification for ebikes?

UL certification is a way for consumers to know that their bikes’ batteries and electrical components are safe. This certification helps minimize fire risk and includes a review of the electrical drive train system, battery, and charger. UL 2849 certification says nothing about the roadworthiness of the ebike and is not a full evaluation of the bike but rather an endorsement of safety on the electrical aspects.

Another certification is UL 2271 which relates specifically to the battery on an ebike as opposed to all electrical systems. UL 2849 is all-encompassing and you may find ebike companies which have only certified their battery.

There are currently no national regulations around requirements for UL certification for ebikes in the US. Likely due to recent large fires, places such as New York City now require UL certification. Ebike companies are being encouraged by the CPSC to meet these standards as a way to increase safety voluntarily. If the request for voluntary compliance isn’t sufficient, a mandatory endorsement may be required in the future. Please note that while some ebikes might not be UL certified, the charger may be UL Listed.

So where do the different ebike companies stand? Learn more about which ebikes are UL certified below and if you’re in ebike company, get in touch to be added to this list.

Aventon Ebikes: TUV certified in accordance with UL 2849

According to Aventon, their ebikes are TUV certified in accordance with UL 2849. This assures consumers that the Aventon bikes have been certified to meet critical electrical and fire safety standards. You can make sure your model is covered by clicking here.

Aventon has an excellent article about taking care of your battery. It covers all the basics of charging and care for your ebike battery, which will decrease fire risk and increase the life of your battery regardless of UL certification.

Check out our reviews of Aventon ebikes here.

Rad Power Bikes: Moving Towards UL Certification

Rad Power Bikes is not a brand-new company and currently holds the title of the largest seller of ebikes in North America. They had been following the European standard, EN 15194, which was available before ebikes took off in the US. We are glad they are also embracing UL 2849 and look forward to updates on their progress. Check out some of our Rad Power Bikes reviews here.

It is a goal of ours to certify all of our bikes to UL 2849 standards as they are released in the future. It takes time to set up the processes to get this certification and our quality team is working on it diligently.

.Rad Power Bikes

Flyer Ebikes: All of their Ebikes are UL Certified

Flyer, the company most known for the little red wagon, takes safety seriously. Unsurprisingly, they already have their bikes meeting the UL 2849 certification. Check out our review of their cargo bike here.

Not only do Flyer bikes meet the UL 2849 standard, but all electrical systems undergo extensive life cycle testing. This ensures our motors, controllers, and batteries meet and exceed our extended warranty.

.Flyer

In addition, all Flyer bike frames and forks are ISO4210, an international bicycling safety standard that coves both high-impact and long-term fatigue testing. This further highlights Flyer’s dedication to safety.

Velotric – The Discover 1 is UL Certified.

Velotric reports that Discover 1 is UL 2849 and UL 2271 certified. information on the Velotric Discover 1 certifications can be found in their UL certification blog post.

Velotric’s newest release, the Nomad 1, is also certified to UL 2271 (battery only) but not UL 2849 (all electrical systems). According to Velotric, the Nomad 1 is undergoing testing now and will be UL 2849 certified soon.

At Velotric, we’ve always wanted to create a bike that balances getting the best key components, while keeping costs down. This hasn’t come at the expense of safety, which is and always has been one of our core values”

.Velotric

Juiced Ebikes: All Batteries are UL certified

Juiced responded promptly when we requested their stance on this issue. They were proud to report that they have UL certified batteries on all of their current ebikes.

…(I) am not sure consumers understand how important this issue is. Poor quality and damaged batteries are the #1 cause of e-bike battery fires, yet very few media outlets are talking about what models do/don’t have UL certification.”

.Juiced

Lectric ebikes: Not UL Certified

We love Lectric ebikes, but unfortunately, they are currently not UL certified.

In Conclusion…

Ebikes are becoming more popular in the US, and ownership continues to rise. With New York City banning non-UL certified ebikes and batteries, there is likely to be more pressure for further state and/or federal regulation. We are happy to see ebike companies addressing UL certification for their ebikes and hope to see others follow suit in adopting UL or equivalent safety standards.

NYC adopts e-bike rules with FOCUS on fire safety and equity

The new policies aim to make it easier for low-income residents to access high-quality models, without banning the zero-emissions devices many workers depend on.

New York City this week adopted a series of policies intended to make it safer for residents to ride, charge and store their electric bicycles and scooters.

The measures are the city’s first concerted effort to address a conundrum that’s growing increasingly urgent in major urban hubs worldwide.

In New York City, tens of thousands of residents rely on battery-powered devices for commuting or for performing their jobs as app-based delivery workers. At the same time, though lithium-ion batteries are usually safe, a proliferation of low-quality devices and dangerous charging practices has caused a rash of deadly fires inside apartment buildings and, most recently, at a daycare facility.

The dilemma reveals the nuanced reality of the micromobility movement that’s taking hold as cities work to curb tailpipe pollution and reduce car traffic. Often, the people who benefit most from riding electrified two-wheelers — low-wage workers — can’t afford to buy higher-quality models or to take the time to slowly and safely charge batteries.

If cities adopt policies that restrict riskier e-bikes and batteries but don’t help people access safer models, they could put an important zero-emissions transit option out of reach for many residents, advocates say.

“ We need to find solutions for the equity and the safety issues that can be rolled out as soon as possible,” Melinda Hanson, founder of Brightside Strategies, a Brooklyn-based mobility consulting firm, told Canary Media.

She said the new policies in New York City are an early but important attempt to address both of those aspects.

On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams signed five bills into law, including one that requires e-bike batteries sold in New York City to meet recognized safety standards, and another that prohibits local shops from tampering with or selling repaired batteries, which are more likely to catch fire.

The bill-signing coincided with the release of the city’s new Electric Micromobility Action Plan, which outlines initiatives for both improving battery safety and encouraging residents to embrace emissions-free transportation. In one test project, the utility Con Edison will install outdoor e-bike battery chargers and storage areas around four public-housing developments to keep cyclists from charging inside their apartments, which can be dangerous. Officials said they’ll advocate for state-funded e-bike rebate programs and subsidies for low- and moderate-income households.

“ Our shared goal to prevent fires involving lithium-ion batteries is a tough one,” city councilmember Alexa Avilés said at Monday’s bill signing, adding that the new measures ​ “ are a step in the right direction.”

If using a lithium-ion battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage. Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately. See more at https://t.co/NpwdRdlElY piccom/mGymGUncXw

— FDNY (@FDNY) March 19, 2023

Get Caught Up

How to get Americans out of cars and onto electric bikes and scooters

Avilés represents parts of Brooklyn and chairs the city’s public-housing committee. Last year, when the New York City Housing Authority considered banning e-bikes in its buildings due to safety concerns, Avilés pushed back, calling for a more ​ “ holistic approach.” Many of the city’s 65. 000 delivery workers live in public-housing apartments — which have also been a common location for battery-related fires.

Between 2021 and 2022. the number of battery fires more than doubled in New York City, from 104 to 220. according to the New York City Fire Department. In January and February, the city saw 30 such fires, which resulted in two deaths and 40 injuries.

Keeping bad batteries off the streets and out of homes

Most high-quality lithium-ion batteries — whether for smartphones, laptops, electric cars or bicycles — are certified by Underwriters Laboratories, whose battery safety standards are among the most stringent. The cells these batteries contain are designed to withstand internal or external shocks.

However, the U.S. still imports plenty of relatively cheap, uncertified batteries that may not have such safeguards in place. Lithium-ion batteries contain oxygen atoms and liquid electrolytes. If a battery runs too hot, or if it’s punctured, the heat, oxygen and electrolyte can begin feeding off each other, causing extremely hot explosions and releasing toxic gas.

Offering rebates for e-bikes with certified batteries, or incentivizing people to trade in riskier models for new ones, would ensure more people can access safer devices, according to Hanson. A regular bicycle equipped with a top-notch electric ​ “ pedal assist” system can run around 2. 000. But electric mopeds with more powerful and uncertified batteries can be found online for half the price, if not less.

“ Nobody buys a dangerous bike because that’s their preference,” Hanson said. ​ “ They’re buying low-quality bikes because it’s what they can afford.”

adopts, e-bike, rules, focus, fire

Still, even the best batteries can pose fire hazards if they’re not properly maintained or repaired. In New York, the crushing demands of delivery workers’ jobs can lead to risky practices. Some workers will tamper with their e-bike systems so they can go faster. Many convenience stores charge multiple bike batteries at once so that workers can quickly exchange a spent battery for one with juice. Often, local repair shops fix damaged batteries themselves rather than send them back to the original manufacturer.

If a cyclist charges one of these altered batteries at home, or leaves it plugged in too long or overnight, the risk of fires increases substantially.

New York City’s e-bike charging pilots and fire-safety outreach efforts could help address some of these problems, including by moving charging into the open air and by encouraging the use of inexpensive but effective outlet timers. These devices cut off power flow once the battery is sufficiently charged.

Still, city officials can’t curb the influx of uncertified batteries on their own. Despite the new law requiring New York City vendors to meet battery-safety standards, residents can still buy e-bikes and scooters online. In the United States, imports valued at 800 or less generally aren’t subject to customs inspections or quality checks.

To that end, the New York City Fire Department ( FDNY ) has pushed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to step in.

In December, the independent federal agency called on 2. 000 manufacturers and importers to ​ “ review their product lines and ensure they comply with established voluntary safety standards or face possible enforcement action.” The FDNY applauded the agency’s action but urged its commissioners to go even further, including potentially by seizing imported devices and penalizing manufacturers for not meeting industry standards.

“ There are basic steps that can make e-micromobility devices safer while not significantly increasing the costs to consumers,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh wrote in a February letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. ​ “ The FDNY is on the front lines of this fight against deadly fires involving batteries in e-micromobility devices, and we are grateful for every tool available to help.”

Maria Gallucci is a clean energy reporter at Canary Media, where she covers hard-to-decarbonize sectors and efforts to make the energy transition more affordable and equitable.

Riding with Confidence: The Safest Ebikes for 2023

Whether you’re an avid ebike owner seeking an upgrade or a novice considering taking the plunge and buying your first e-bike, there are many factors to consider when choosing what will be the best fit for you. Safety is undoubtedly at the top of that list; you must have confidence while riding on roads shared with cars and pedestrians. It’s what makes commuting or weekend cruising enjoyable!

Fortunately, some incredible advancements in technology have given us several of the safest ebikes available for 2023! In this article, we’ll cover some of the top ebikes you can find regarding safety. From high-quality batteries to integrated security apps, these bikes will surely provide buyers peace of mind.

The Emerald Ebike

If ebike safety is important to you, then the Emerald ebike is a perfect choice. Emerald offers multiple safety features, including:

  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • A Shimano derailleur
  • Premium fat tires
  • Leather grips
  • Front and rear lights (an uncommon safety feature in ebikes)
  • Step-through design
  • A high-grade 48V Samsung lithium-ion battery

Combine these things, and riders are guaranteed the safest experience possible.

Unlike other e-micro mobility devices, many of which use cheap knockoff batteries or even universal batteries, The Emerald Bike utilizes a name-brand battery that boasts incredible levels of safety due to its chemical makeup. Fires caused by ebike batteries are on the rise, especially in densely populated cities like New York City. Lithium-ion batteries are completely safe unless they are faulty or damaged, which tends to occur in cheap knockoffs. Make sure you always opt for top quality when it comes to ebike safety. As one of the safest ebikes on the market, the Emerald Bike has your back!

VanMoof S5 Ebike

As far as safety goes, the VanMoof S5 is one of the safest ebikes on the market. Not only does it have integrated lights and high-quality brakes for extra precaution, but it also features an anti-theft system that can sense when someone is tampering with your locked bike. When triggered, it sets off an alarm and locks down automatically, so no one else can use it.

Now you’ll never have to worry about your bike disappearing again! To keep you further protected, the company offers Peace of Mind coverage. This means if your locked bike does get stolen, they’ll track it down and recover it as quickly as possible – giving you the ultimate assurance of security.

Trek Verve 3 Ebike

The Trek Verve 3 is another ebike designed with safety in mind. From its step-through design that makes mounting and dismounting easier to its powerful Bosch motor and reliable disc brakes, safety is a priority. Not to mention its Comfort Safety Parts include a road-smoothing suspension seatpost, plus wide and stable tires for maximum safety and security on the roads.

The battery is fully encased in the frame making the bike look sleeker, balance better, and protect the battery. For daily cruises, commutes, and workouts alike, the Trek Verve 3 will ensure safety always comes first.

Gazelle Ultimate T10 HMB

The Gazelle Ultimate T10 HMB ebike provides riders the utmost protection with the reliable AXA Defender ring lock. The lock boasts an anti-drilling cylinder and a hardened steel bracket. The ergonomic push-button and online key service offer convenience. Meanwhile, a flexible fixing set allows for simple mounting on many frame shapes. Top bolt mounting is also available.

The multi-layered security of this bike ensures peace of mind with its Sold Secure Silver approval as well as the Dutch ART 2-star certification. This offers you level 12 protection and compatibility with the DPI, RLC Plus, and RLC plug-in chain options. Overall, The Gazelle Ultimate T10 HMB ensures that those traveling on two wheels can do so safely.

Specialized Turbo Vado Ebike

The Specialized Turbo Vado comes with integrated lights and reliable hydraulic disc brakes. But the Turbo doesn’t stop there. Not only does it have a lightweight frame and smooth ride, but it also includes a Mission Control app to disable the motor if stolen. Good luck, bike thieves!

adopts, e-bike, rules, focus, fire

Through its removable and lockable battery, you can rest assured that no one will be able to turn the motor back on—especially without your personalized pin. With the powerful motor, sturdy rack, and additional safety features, take on your adventures with confidence knowing you’re safe and secure with the Specialized Turbo Vado.

The Takeaway

To sum it up, staying safe while riding your ebike is incredibly important, especially when you’re sharing the road with cars and people. Luckily, some really cool and high-tech ebikes available in 2023 have safety as a top priority. The Emerald Ebike, VanMoof S5, Trek Verve 3, Gazelle Ultimate T10 HMB, and Specialized Turbo Vado are some of the safest ebikes out there.

They have essential features like high-quality batteries, built-in lights, top-tier brakes, and even anti-theft systems to make sure your ride is as secure as possible. If you want to ride your ebike confidently, make sure you choose one with all the top-notch technology that’ll give you peace of mind while you’re cruising around.

The Truth About E-Bike Fires

The popularity of e-bikes is increasing rapidly. Here are a few tips on how to protect yourself from e-bike battery fires.

E-bike fires are in the news a lot lately, as well they should be. There have been hundreds of them in New York City alone attributed to the lithium-ion batteries in mobility devices such as e-bikes, electric scooters, and hoverboards. Those batteries also power our laptop computers, cell phones, cordless power tools, and the most stupid of all human inventions — electronic cigarettes.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received reports of more than 200 incidents since the start of 2021 in which micro-mobility 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 last December.

E-bikes have exploded in popularity (no pun intended), particularly in cities like New York where people use them as their principal means of transportation to make micro-deliveries of food, packages, and important documents. It’s always possible to find a space to park a bicycle even when parking for the smallest of vehicles is nonexistent. Bike deliveries are faster, which means people in the so-called gig economy who make their living delivering stuff can earn more money in a given space of time than if they tried to do the same thing by car.

Having a battery to assist with the pedaling just makes the process that much more efficient and less tiring. And the best part may be that an e-bike can be carried upstairs to an apartment where it is secure from thieves and can be plugged in overnight so it is ready to go the next morning.

There are no accurate numbers on e-bike imports, but the Light Electric Vehicle Association estimates about 880,000 of them were imported to the U.S. in 2021 — double the number imported in 2020, and three times the total from 2019. There are estimated to be more than 500,000 hoverboards whizzing around in America. 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.

The E-Bike Lithium-Ion Batteries

Mary, Zuney, e-bikes, and Tesla Model 3 Long Range at a Supercharger in Chamberlain, South Dakota, on September 28, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

The first lithium-ion batteries were invented in laboratories in the 1970s, but did not begin to be used commercially until 1991. Most CleanTechnica readers know the basics about such batteries. They have an anode and a cathode separated by a thin layer of material containing lithium and other substances that hold an electrical charge. Then it is all wrapped up in what is popularly known as a “jelly roll,” inserted into a metal outer casing, and voila! A battery cell.

Put a half dozen of them together and you can power a laptop computer for several hours. Put thousands of them together and you can power an electric car for hundreds of miles. Make them flat instead of round and they can fit inside a cell phone. During operation, that lithium can create microscopic spikes called dendrites. 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.

NPR reports that in 2006, Dell, Apple, and other major laptop makers urged millions of customers to return laptop batteries after Sony discovered a flaw in its battery manufacturing process. Chevy, Hyundai, and Chrysler have all been forced to issue recalls over battery fires in electric vehicles. Recently, Ford stopped production of its F-150 Lightning pickup trucks after the battery in one caught fire during testing. 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. In 2013, Boeing had a problem with battery fires in early examples of its 787 Dreamliner airplanes.

Right now, the battery-powered micromobility sector is lightly regulated. Nobody knows how many lithium-ion batteries are in circulation, who manufactured them, or what chemistries they use. Conservatives despise regulation, but for normal people, a few ground rules that cover things like what side of the road we drive on or how many hours an airplane can fly before it is overhauled are appreciated.

This month, the New York City Council passed several ordinances that require all e-bike and other electric mobility devices sold, rented, or leased in the city to be certified by Underwriters Laboratory, a safety organization that has been testing electric devices for over a century, They also ban 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.

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 micro-mobility devices. Following the guidelines “significantly reduces the risk of injuries and deaths from micro-mobility 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 micro-mobility 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.

E-Bike Safety

There are a few recommendations from those groups that can reduce the chance of a battery fire:

  • Always be present while charging. Don’t plug in and then go to sleep and unplug the charger as soon as the battery is fully charged.
  • Use only the charger that came included with your device and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging.
  • Keep batteries away from flammable materials like furniture and pillows while charging.
  • Don’t charge or store your device in a location that blocks your access to an exit.
  • Look for the Underwriters Laboratory label when buying an e-bike or other micro-mobility device.
  • Ask the seller who supplied the battery for an e-bike or other device you are considering buying.

NPR warns 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. Here are few tips for buying a new battery.

  • If your battery starts to fail, it may be safest to buy a new one.
  • Do NOT attempt to repair a battery yourself.
  • Always buy from a company that sells brand-name batteries.
  • Only buy a new battery or charger from the company which manufactured your e-bike or micro-mobility device

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. If you don’t know where your nearest battery recycling center is, visit the Call2Recycle website. Your local Home Depot may also have a battery recycling center.

Input From Lectric

A few months ago, I purchased an e-bike from Lectric. It folds for easy storage and transport and it is fun to ride. The way it handles and carves turns reminds me of my much beloved Mazda Miata. As I was researching this story, I began wondering about the battery in my Lectric XP Lite. I live in a condo community and if there was an issue, I would incur the wrath of my neighbors, so I contacted the company, and got the following response from Christian Dennis.

“Not all e-bike batteries are created equal. Most safety risks with e-bike batteries, like all lithium ion batteries, are caused by low quality aftermarket batteries and misuse. Our batteries are protected against deep discharge, overloading, overheating, and short circuiting by Electronic Cell Protection. In the event of a fault, a protective circuit switches the battery pack off automatically.

“Proper maintenance, charging, and storage is key for battery safety and health. Please be sure to read through your user manual for all of the safety requirements in regards to your bike. Safety guidance includes but is not limited to the following: To ensure that your battery is safely charged, do not leave your battery unattended while charging and only use the provided Lectric eBikes battery charger supplied with your eBike or one approved for your eBikes by the manufacturer and purchased from a trusted source.

“Do not connect the battery pack to the charger until it has reached an allowable charging temperature. Do not charge the battery with chargers other than the charger provided by Lectric eBikes. Only charge the battery indoors and in dry spaces which are not excessively hot or cold, in temperatures between 50 °F – 77 °F (10 °C – 25 °C). Ensure there are no flammable items, dirt or debris or water on the charger or nearby when using the charger. Avoid leaving the charger plugged in when the battery is fully charged.

“Do not charge the battery if you notice the battery is damaged, excessively hot, leaking, smells, or is discolored. Always check the charger, cable, and plug before use. Stop using the charger if you discover any damage. Do not open the charger. Damaged chargers, cables, and plugs increase the risk of electric shock.”

All common sense stuff that should be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. All lithium-ion batteries are a potential source of trouble. Use them wisely. Christian did not respond to my question about UL certification directly, but this is an area that is developing rapidly. We as consumers should demand assurances from manufacturers that the batteries in the products we use are as safe as possible.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going for a ride in the Florida sun on my Lectric XP Lite.

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