Retailer Halfords and e-scooter manufacturer bo Mobility are calling for customers to only use compatible batteries and chargers from reputable brands to avoid the risk of lithium-ion battery fires from e-scooters and e-bikes.
This comes after the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) issued a warning about the risks posed by such batteries due to a rising number of household fires attributed to these devices.
“It is very important that electric bike and electric scooter owners use only chargers that are designed for their model,” a Halfords spokesperson told Zag Daily. “All Halfords chargers are designed specifically for our e-bikes and e-scooters and comply with relevant safety directives.”
Freedom of Information data obtained by insurer Zurich revealed that the number of fires caused by lithium-ion e-scooter and e-bike batteries in the UK surged by 149% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
bo’s CEO and Co-Founder Oscar Morgan, a former Formula One Engineer who is developing a premium e-scooter, told Zag that buying branded e-scooters from a mainstream retailer and using chargers from the same brand is the first step people can take to maximise safety.
“Today that means Xiaomi, Segway or Pure,” said Morgan. “In that scenario, the battery management systems and charger protections will work together in the best way possible, especially in the event of a faulty battery cell.”
Morgan said that at bo all engineering has the priority to minimise risk by using battery cells from high-quality brands and built-in protection management systems.
“We pair them with intelligent chargers that recognise if there is a reason to stop putting energy into the pack and then brutally test these components ourselves to be confident in their performance and safety,” said Morgan.
CTSI is urging businesses importing and selling e-scooters, e-bikes and conversion kits to ensure that the products fully comply with product safety laws. It also warns consumers to only purchase devices from reputable retailers and to check that they display a valid UKCA or CE mark.
Many of the fires have been attributed to e-bike conversion kits which can be used to convert a standard push bike into an electric bike.
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “There is a significant risk posed by the e-bikes which have been converted and we are predominantly seeing fires in ones which have been purchased from online marketplaces and batteries which have been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.
“When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity and because the fires develop so rapidly the situation can quickly become incredibly serious. These items are often stored in communal areas and corridors and can block people’s only means of escape.”
CTSI is urging the public to:
• Only purchase e-bikes, e-scooters, chargers and batteries from reputable retailers;
• Never buy counterfeit batteries or chargers, and ensure that any device you use displays a valid UKCA or CE mark;
• Check that separate components, such as batteries and chargers, are compatible with one another;
• Register your product with the manufacturer to validate any warranties on components including batteries. Registering makes it easier for manufacturers to contact you in the event of safety or recall information;
• Check any products you have bought are not subject to a product recall. You can do this by checking Electrical Safety First’s website or the government website.