E-Bikes and E-Scooters – Battery Safety

Battery operated E-bikes and E-scooters are becoming increasingly popular, as part of a new generation of household products powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are responsible for a rising number of fires within homes. In the space of two years, the number of fires linked to this kind of technology has risen by more than 400%.

2020: 40 fires reported     2021: 106 fires reported     2022: 203 fires reported

It is essential that E-bikes, E-scooters and any other devices powered by lithium-ion batteries are bought, stored, maintained, used and disposed of responsibly, to protect people and property.

To reduce the risk of fire, keeping your household and neighbours safe, please follow the following guidance for Lithium-ion battery devices.

Choosing the right product

  • Only buy vehicles, chargers, batteries and conversion kits from reputable retailers.

As the popularity of electronic vehicles is increasing, so too is the market for counterfeit goods. Counterfeit products that don’t meet British or European safety standards may have electrical faults that could cause devices to overheat and start fires. When ignited, Lithium-ion batteries are known to cause extremely intense fires, give off toxic fumes and can even explode. Look out for the British Safety Standard (BSS) or European safety standard (CE) labels. If buying components separately, always ensure that they are compatible.

  • Register your product with the manufacturer to validate any warranties.

Batteries are usually included in product warranties. Registering your device online makes it easier for manufacturers to contact you if a safety issue is identified or if a product needs to be recalled for any reason. Check any products you have bought are not subject to a product recall by visiting Electrical Safety First’s website or the government website.

Storing your device

  • Never store e-bikes or e-scooters in communal areas of your building.

Your vehicle might be blocking someone’s emergency escape route and could risk the safety of residents in the event of a fire. Onward operates a zero-tolerance policy to items left in communal areas of its buildings and will remove any potential obstacles immediately.

  • Only store e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries in a cool place.

Lithium-ion batteries can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, so avoid leaving them in excessively hot or cold areas of your home. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for the storage and maintenance of lithium -ion batteries and devices, especially if they are not going to be used for extended periods of time. Never charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.

Charging your device

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and unplug your charger when it’s finished

While genuine chargers (or battery packs) may cost more, it’s not worth putting your life at risk and potentially destroying your home by buying a fake charger to save a few pounds. Only charge batteries while you are awake and alert, so if a fire occurs you can respond quickly. Don’t leave batteries to charge while you are asleep or away from home. If you notice any signs of damage to your charger, buy a replacement from a reputable seller.

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home.

If your device or its battery overheats and causes a fire, a smoke alarm will provide the best warning – but only if it is working! If you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter in a garage or kitchen, ensure you install the appropriate fire detection devices. We recommend heat alarms rather smoke detectors for these areas.

  • Best practice for charging devices.

Do not cover chargers or battery packs when in use, as this could lead to overheating or even a fire. Never overcharge your battery – check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended charging times. Do not overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads. Only use un-coiled extension cables and ensure the lead is suitably rated for what you are plugging in to it.

Damage and disposal

  • Look out for damage and wear & tear.

Batteries can easily be damaged by being dropping or by crashing e-bikes or e-scooters. When a battery is damaged, it is more likely to overheat and catch fire without warning. Check your battery regularly and if there are any signs it may damaged, do not use it again.

  • Always dispose of batteries and devices responsibly.

The incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries in general household and recycling waste can lead to fires. If you need to dispose of a damaged or battery at the end of its life, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling. When punctured or crushed, these batteries have the potential to cause fires in bin lorries, recycling and waste centres. Your e- bike or e-scooter manufacturer may offer a recycling service. Alternatively check with your local authority for suitable battery recycling arrangements in your area.

If you have concerns about any electronic devices in your building or have any concerns about fire risk, please contact Onward on 0300 555 0600.