Got an E-Bike? Here’s how to avoid a battery fire

The fight for car-free great highway continues

If you live in San Francisco, you’ve seen the masses of electric bikes cruising comfortably down bike lanes and on Slow Streets, and powering with ease up the city’s many hills. E-bikes have gained popularity in the last few years not just in San Francisco and the U.S., but around the world, and are projected to stick around as a popular mode of transportation. San Francisco even has plans to increase e-bike use among gig workers

With this continued growth in popularity comes improved technology, but if you’re familiar with the rise of e-bikes, you’re probably also familiar with the safety challenges e-bike manufacturers have faced, particularly with their lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery for e-bikes because they are rechargeable and hold a lot of power for their size. If a battery overheats, however, it has the potential to cause a destructive fire, as seen in 200 cases in New York City this year alone. 

Whether you already have an e-bike, are planning to get one soon, or plan to gift one to someone else for the holidays, be sure to follow these tips to keep you, your family, and your e-bike safe. 

  • Don’t go off-brand: Buy your e-bike and any extra batteries, cords, or power adaptors from a manufacturer certified by a qualified testing laboratory, and always follow the manufacturer’s charging and storage instructions. 
  • Give your e-bike the attention it deserves: don’t leave it unattended while charging or charge it overnight. 
  • Store and charge intentionally: Keep all batteries and devices stored out of direct sunlight and at room temperature. Don’t charge it near your couch or bed. 
  • When in doubt, unplug: If you notice anything unusual while charging (battery overheats, emits an odor, liquid, or sound, leaks, or changes in shape or color) immediately stop charging. If your battery was dropped or in a crash, get a new one. 
  • Always be prepared: Make sure your fire extinguisher has been recently serviced and is easily accessible in your home, and call 911 immediately if your battery reacts in an alarming way. Be sure to not block your path in and out of the building with an e-bike.

With these e-bike battery best practices, you’ll surely enjoy your e-bike for every mile of it’s battery range! Curious about other biking best practices? Check out our on-line and in-person classes!

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