The e-bike industry and its trade associations often downplay the occurrence of e-bike fires, even going as far as pointing fingers at other industries. They use phrases like “a runaway thermal event” to describe what is essentially a battery exploding in flames. While the number of reported e-bike fires is relatively small compared to the total number of factories, retailers, and owners, it doesn’t offer much comfort if you happen to have an e-bike charging in your garage, home, or apartment.
Below, you’ll find a list of reported e-bike fires along with some common-sense precautions that every e-bike owner should take to minimize the risk of fire and limit the damage in case of an incident. I urge all e-bike owners to read and implement as many of these suggestions as possible. And above all, never purchase an e-bike that isn’t UL 2849 certified or certified by a reputable third-party laboratory, no matter how tempting the deal may be.
A LIST OF REPORTED E-BIKE FIRES
UPDATE 5/10/23: Mother And Son Die In Fire Sparked By Charging E-Bike
UPDATE: 1/28/23: E-Bike Battery Torches Huntington Beach Apartment
UPDATE: 1/16/23: Ten People Left Homeless After E-Bike Battery Fire
UPDATE: 1/16/23: Mona Vale Garage Fire Sparked By Charging E-Bike.
UPDATE: 1/3/23: Electric Bike Battery Explodes In Eugene.
UPDATE 11/23/22: E-bike Conversion Suspected In Home Fire.
UPDATED 11/9/22: Six Injured In Apartment Fire Sparked By Suspected E-Bike Battery.
UPDATED 11/5/22: Lithium-ion Battery Fire Sends 38 To The Hospital.
UPDATE 10/29/22: Woman Dies In Fire Sparked By Charging E-Bike.
UPDATED 10/6/22: E-Bike Explosion Inside Mall Caught On Video.
UPDATED 10/5/22: Unattended Charging E-Bike Battery Ignites Fire In Bend.
UPDATED 9/26/22: E-Bike Catches Fire In Baltimore Apartment Garage.
UPDATED 9/26/22: Home-Made Electric Bike Suspected Of Lethal Apartment Fire.
UPDATED 8/21/22: Mill Bay Family Lose Home To Fire Caused By Charging E-bike.
UPDATED 7/11/22: E-bike Rental Business Total Loss After Battery Explodes.
UPDATED 7/2/22: Family Flees E-bike Fire.
UPDATED 6/12/22: Modified E-Bike Battery Explodes, Killing One Man. A follow-up report.
UPDATED 5/31/22: Charging E-Bike Battery Sets Fire To Building.
UPDATED 5/19/22: E-Bike Battery Fires On Pace To Double In NYC This Year.
UPDATE 5/15/22: Santa Cruz Bicycles Recalls Model Due To Fire Risk.
UPDATED 4/24/22: Trip To Whistling Duck Ends In E-Bike Inferno
UPDATED 4/19/22: E-Bike Battery Fire Destroys Bike Shop.
UPDATED 4/19/22: E-Bike Battery Explodes In North Vancouver Home.
UPDATED 3/29/22: E-Bike Battery Sparks House Fire.
UPDATE 3/26/22: Property Damaged Caused By Charging E-Bike Battery
UPDATE 3/21/22: Fire Erupts In Bayside Restaurant With E-Bike Storage
UPDATE 3/15/22: FDNY Takes On Two-Alarm Blaze.
UPDATED 2/10/22: House Fire Started By Exploding E-Bike Battery. (Note: It is not clear from the story if this is an electric-powered scooter or e-bike fire, but the same precautions apply when charging any electric-powered cycle.)
UPDATED 1/20/22: Homeowners Have Lucky Escape After E-Bike Exploded.
UPDATED 12/15/21: Fire Victim Charging Multiple E-Bike And Scooter Batteries Before Blaze.
UPDATED 11/25/21: E-Bike Causes Fire In Thornton Heath.
UPDATED 11/1/21: Everyone Thought The Warehouse Was Abandoned. Then It Caught Fire. (This story is about a lithium battery fire, not an e-bike fire)
UPDATED 10/20/21: E-Bike Fires Become Serious Problem In New York City.
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 since 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.
E-BIKE FIRE TIPS YOU CAN USE TODAY
1. Never leave a battery charging unattended. Day or night.
2. Don’t leave batteries on a charger once they are charged.
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. Same with the battery charger.
9. Charge batteries on wire shelving with rollers. This allows an overheating or flaming battery to be quickly rolled away from structures.
10. If your e-bike makes a weird noise, feels hot, emits smoke or seems to be straining, stop riding. Do not load it in a car or put in the garage. Call 911. Any of these warning signs could mean a fire is eminent.
11. Look for the UL 2849 certified sticker on your next e-bike purchase.