NFPA identifies e-bike battery fires problem and points to need for the industry to adopt safety standards, such as UL 2849. An article in NFPA Journal summarises information on e-bike fires to date and actions possible to address this. New York fire services identified 130 e-bike caused fires in the first half of the year, up 50% from 2021, with already five related fire deaths. A proposal to ban e-bikes and e-scooters from all public housing met with vocal opposition, as the machines are increasingly seen as a key means of transport. Most fires are caused by battery failures. Safety standards such as UL standards 2272 (electrical systems in personal mobility devices, 2016) and 2849 (e-bikes, 2020) address battery resistance to impacts, overheating, charging control. But statistics are not yet available to prove the impacts on fire occurrence. Quality of chargers is also important. Another problem results from overload of electrical circuits or extension leads during charging, with a particular risk for “juicers” (individuals who recharge rental e-bikes overnight for payment, often with many devices). As of April 2022, the New York City fire code bans storage or charging of more than five e-mobility devices in one area, unless fire safety equipment is installed (sprinklers, fire doors …).
NFPA Journal (US National Fire Safety Protection Association), 4 August 2022 https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2022/Fall-2022/Features/E-bikes and video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYiof2Kinvc&t=6s
Photo: “Fire investigators issue urgent warning over fires involving e-bike batteries”, London Fire Brigade 1 July 2021 https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/2021-news/july/fire-investigators-issue-urgent-warning-over-fires-involving-e-bike-batteries/