The revolution of lithium-ion batteries has brought significant advancements to the electronics and transportation industries. The increased rate of adoption of electric bikes as a cleaner alternative to automobiles is cause for celebration. However, a recent surge in reported lithium battery fires threatens to undo much of the progress being made in this domain, causing serious injuries (even deaths) and major property damage.
Despite the positive impact of ebikes on reducing traffic congestion and emissions, the occurrence of battery fires has cast doubts on their safety. That’s why we want to address this topic head on by raising awareness of this issue and by educating readers about steps being taken at the local and state levels of government and by ebike manufacturers who are moving towards UL certified lithium ion batteries.
By increasing awareness about the causes and prevention of battery fires, we can take proactive steps to mitigate risks and ensure the safe usage of ebikes.
Are Electric Bikes Safe?
Ebikes have garnered significant attention due to their numerous advantages. While ebikes are generally considered safe, they can lead to highly unpredictable fires mostly caused by defective, low quality ebike batteries or improper storage and care of lithium ion batteries. This presents a significant challenge for firefighters as these runaway reactions can be extremely difficult to put out.
The increasing prevalence of ebike battery fires emphasizes the need for specialized training and resources to enable fire departments to effectively manage these incidents and ensure the safety of riders and the community.
It is crucial to understand the underlying causes of battery fires and adopt precautionary measures to ensure safety.
Here are some tips to ensure safe use of ebike batteries:
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended charger: Using a non-recommended charger can damage the battery or cause it to overheat, which can be dangerous.
- Store and charge the battery in a cool, dry place: Avoid exposing the battery to extreme temperatures, which can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.
- Do not overcharge the battery: Overcharging can damage the battery and increase the risk of a fire or explosion. It’s recommended to charge the battery to 80% and discharge to 20% for optimal battery life.
- Check the battery for damage: Inspect the battery regularly for any physical damage, such as cracks or punctures, that can affect the battery’s performance. This can cause a leak or a short circuit, which can be dangerous.
- Replace damaged or worn-out batteries: Using a damaged or worn-out battery can be dangerous.
- Avoid exposing the battery to water or moisture: This can damage the battery and increase the risk of a short circuit.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule: This can help ensure the battery remains in good condition and lasts as long as possible.
- Keep the battery clean: Use a soft cloth to wipe the battery clean regularly. Avoid using water or any cleaning solution that can damage the battery.
- Don’t overheat the battery: Avoid exposing the battery to high temperatures or leaving it in a hot car or direct sunlight.
Overall, if you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and use and maintain the battery properly, ebike batteries are generally safe to use.
Firefighters and local law enforcement officials are adapting to the increase in lithium battery fire incidents.
Lithium Battery Fires: Understanding the Risks
Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in ebikes as well as other electronic devices such as smartphones and electric vehicles, present safety risks due to the potential occurrence of thermal runaways. This chemical process can result in a rapid escalation of battery cell temperature and pressure, accompanied by the release of flammable gas. In the event of ignition, this flammable gas can fuel intense fires that are challenging to extinguish and emit toxic fumes.
How To Prevent A Lithium Battery Fire
To address this issue, it is necessary to implement better safety regulations and measures for lithium-ion batteries. While manufacturers are making efforts to improve battery safety, addressing the problem will require cooperation among all stakeholders, including regulators, manufacturers, and consumers.
When it comes to safety, the most crucial action you can take is to select equipment that carries the UL mark. UL-certified batteries, represented by the letters “UL” enclosed within a circle, signifies that the product, encompassing the battery, motor, and charger, has undergone thorough safety testing and certification. It’s vital to keep in mind that this advice applies not only to electric micro mobility vehicles but also to any item utilizing lithium-ion batteries.
Ebike Brands That Require a UL Certified Battery
There are many well-known ebike brands that are taking battery fire safety very seriously and with good reason. When lithium battery fires are linked to ebikes, any ebike, it can shine a negative light on the entire industry. It’s very important that consumers are educated on the risks associated with buying cheap OEM batteries from disreputable sources to minimize the potential danger of lithium battery fires. When consumers choose to purchase solely from ebike brands that understand there is no substitution for a UL-certified battery everybody wins.
Here is a list of ebike brands we love that require UL-certified batteries for their bikes:
- Flyer – All bikes are UL 2849 certified
- Eunorau – All bikes are UL 2849 and UL 2271 certified
- Cyrusher – All bikes meet CE, UL, Rhos and FCC requirements
- Most ebikes are UL 2271 certified
- All etrikes are UL 2271 certified
- Juiced Bikes – All batteries are UL certified
- Aventon Ebikes: TUV certified in accordance with UL 2849
- Rad Power Bikes – EN 15194 certified but moving Towards UL Certification
The revolutionary impact of lithium-ion batteries across various industries cannot be overlooked. However, it is imperative to address their safety risks through better regulations, measures, and increased consumer awareness.
While ebikes are generally safe, the potential for lithium battery fires emphasizes the need to understand the causes and implement preventive measures. This includes investing in high-quality equipment, adhering to manufacturer guidelines for charging and storage, and responsibly disposing of batteries. By adopting responsible consumer behavior and promoting awareness, we can ensure the safe and secure use of ebikes for everyone.