The e-bike industry and its trade organizations are often quoted as saying e-bike fires are “a rare occurrence” (if they comment on the issue at all). These organizations are more apt to use the sanitized phrase “a runaway thermal event” that is code for “the bike’s battery blew up into flames.” The list of e-bike factories, retailers and owners who have experienced meltdowns is indeed a small percentage of total e-bike factories, retailers and owners. That shouldn’t make you feel a lot better if you have an e-bike charging in your garage (or home or apartment).
Below the list of reported e-bike fires I’ve posted common sense precautions* an e-bike owner can take to reduce the chance of a fire and to limit the damage if a fire occurs. I urge every e-bike owner to read these suggestions and implement as many of them as possible. Finally, NEVER buy an e-bike that isn’t UL 2849 certified no matter how good of a deal you think you are getting.
A LIST OF REPORTED E-BIKE FIRES
UPDATED 9/17/21: Secutronic Technology e-bike explodes and burns.
UPDATED 9/15/21: Austin Hotel Fire Started By Charging E-Bike.
UPDATED 9/8/21: Charging battery explodes in front of owner’s apartment.
UPDATED 9/8/21: Super73 RX Controller catches fire. Note: This video documents the rider breaking multiple vehicular laws.
UPDATED 9/2/21: Nine-year-old dies in fire caused by charging e-scooter. Note: I usually limit my postings to e-bike fires, but there is so much e-bike owners can learn* from this tragedy, I have posted it.
UPDATED 8/23/21: E-Bike ignites outside London McDonalds
UPDATED 8/4/21: Eastbourne fire caused by e-bike battery.
UPDATE 7/1/21: Urgent warning after spike in ferocious fires.
UPDATE 6/25/21: Finally, some vindication from Human Powered Solutions.
UPDATED 6/20/21: Family billed $32,000 after e-bike battery sparks house fire.
UPDATE 6/19/21: E-bike battery charger sparks fire in Wiltshire.
UPDATED 6/8/21: E-bike left on charge blamed after fire engulfs Sydney home.
UPDATE 6/7/21: Fires caused by e-bikes up 74.5% this year.
UPDATE 6/3/21: E-bike battery caused Springfield apartment fire.
UPDATE 5/27/21: Specialized recalls two popular e-bike models due to fire hazard.
UPDATED 4/20/21: E-tricycle catches fire near High School due to battery explosion.
UPDATED 7/20/20: E-bike’s battery explodes on city street destroying the bicycle.
UPDATED 5/1/20: Raw footage of exploding Lime Bike Battery on UW Campus.
UPDATED 4/20/20: Pedego Electric Bicycles shop in Dunedin, Florida, suffers fire.
UPDATED 3/27/20: Battery explosion kills 60-year-old rider.
UPDATE 1/15/20: Modified E-bike’s fiery explosion a warning.
UPDATE 10/21/19: Why communities can’t trust micromobility rental businesses.
UPDATE 10/17/19: Dutch insurers and fire fighters worry about increase in e-bike battery fires.
UPDATE 8/18/19: A sad story from CBS8 reports that Ocean Beach surfboard shaper Ace Elliot has lost his workshop to a fire that he suspects was ignited by his charging e-bike battery.
UPDATE 8/3/19: Lyft has removed their entire E-bike rental fleet from San Francisco after two bikes caught fire.
UPDATE 2/3/19: Forbes reports that it is “unusual for electric bikes to catch fire” in their report on Stella, a Dutch E-bike company that suffered three fires in seven months.
*BATTERY CHARGING TIPS YOU CAN USE TODAY
1. Never leave a battery charging unattended. Day or night.
2. Don’t overcharge batteries.
3. Don’t charge batteries near combustible or explosive materials.
4. Don’t charge a battery in a confined space like a motorhome, RV, boat, automobile, van or shed.
5. Never charge a battery that has been dropped, damaged or dinged.
6. Never charge a battery in a hallway entry/exit.
7. Never modify a battery.
8. Use only batteries recommended and approved by your bike’s manufacturer.
9. Charge batteries on wire shelving with rollers. This allows an overheating or flaming battery to be quickly rolled away from structures.
10. Look for the UL 2849 certified sticker on your next e-bike purchase.
11. Avoid e-bikes that are not UL 2849 certified.