There is a good chance that the number of e-bike battery fires will double in 2022 from the previous year. So far this year, 174 lithium-ion e-bike batteries have caught fire in American cities, compared to 104 in 2021 and ‘only’ 44 in 2020, US news site NPR reported. The number is therefore growing steadily, but it’s not clear whether this is purely the result of the increasing number of e-bikes or whether the risk of battery fires has actually increased. Six people have been killed and 93 injured as a result of the explosion of bicycle batteries in New York so far this year.
Fires usually occur while the battery is charging. Often the problem is using the wrong charger (which isn’t specifically designed for that e-bike) and so it won’t automatically stop charging when the battery is full. Lithium-ion batteries can ignite easily, so the results can be disastrous if the bike owner is not careful while charging. Since charging can take up to eight hours, it makes sense that people don’t always pay attention to things. The batteries themselves can also fail and begin to leak, causing an explosion.
Many food delivery services in New York use e-bikes. The New York fire chief explains to NPR that this is one possible reason why many battery incidents happen in New York, as delivery people often sit on their bikes all day and therefore need to fully charge the battery every day. It is not recorded how often bicycle batteries are fired in the Netherlands.
A fire caused by a faulty e-bike battery in Brooklyn (source: Twitter)
Source: Hardware Info