Electric bike batteries are causing hundreds of fires in New York: “Everyone is scared”

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This year there were 200 accidents and six deaths caused by these vehicles. Several buildings caught fire and more and more delivery men are injured. The problem also involves electric skateboards

E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Hundreds Of Fires In New York: “Everybody Is Scared”

A delivery man rides his electric bike in March 2020. Photo: John Minchillo/AP

Delivery men in the city of New York face not only the risk of being mugged or hit by cars. Now they fear that their main mode of transportation, the electric bicycle, will explode due to its lithium battery.

The newspaper The Guardian explained that the powerful batteries of Lithium ions used in small electric vehicles are responsible for the growing fire epidemic. This year there have been around 200 fires and six deaths, according to the New York City Fire Department. This month, an electric bike fire inside a Manhattan high-rise apartment escalated into an all-out inferno, injuring nearly 40 people and forcing firefighters to evacuate residents with ropes.

In a press statement, the city's fire marshal said that these types of fires can spread rapidly and suddenly. “We have a fully formed fire in a matter of seconds,” he said.

E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Hundreds Of Fires In New York: “Everybody Is Scared”

Damage inside a residential building that caught fire in the Manhattan borough of New York. Photograph: New York Fire Department/AFP/Getty Images

The story from The Guardian also recounts the fear that food delivery workers and other industries have when it comes to use this type of transport since they don't know if at some point their bicycle is going to explode.

Dolores Salomon, 64, recounted her experience to the newspaper and said that she “lives in fear” that her vehicle could catch fire while it is charging or even while she is driving it. Last year, while delivering food on his mobility scooter, Solomon hit a pothole, sending the battery flying and hitting the pavement, where it burst into flames. “It was like a big bang” , he told The Guardian. “It scared me, like, ‘Damn, if that had happened on the bike, I would have been blown away.'”

In his note, he further explains that in August, a lithium-ion battery fire broke out after 2 a.m. killing a girl and her mother in their Harlem apartment. A big reason fires keep happening, he says, is that workers have few options for loading their vehicles. Many charge their batteries in their own apartments and hope for the best. Others rent a spot at one of Manhattan's electric bike shops, where the shops charge dozens of batteries side by side on racks impromptu.

Background

A recent report by the Daily News reveals that in New York City, so far in 2022, < b>twice as many fires caused by the explosion of electric skateboard and bicycle batteries, compared to the same period in 2021.

E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Hundreds Of Fires In New York: “Everybody Is Scared”

Damage inside a residential building that caught fire in the Manhattan borough of New York. Photograph: New York Fire Department/AFP/Getty Images

The figures provided by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) indicate that from January to August 2022, were produced130 fires throughout the city, and that as a consequence, the flames killed five people and injured 73. The same firefighters said that at this time in 2021, the fires There were 65, in which three people died and another 57 were injured.

The phenomenon of electric skateboards has grown exponentially since the pandemic, when many people got used to ordering home delivery of all kinds of products, but especially ready-made food.

The same fire department says that in 2019, before the COVID-19 crisis, there had only been 13 fires and that in 2020, in full lockdown, that number it had already risen to 44 cases.

According to fire department officials, factory-installed batteries in electric skateboards do not seem to be the main problem, but rather those sold in the aftermarket that users buy online or in stores, such as supplements or replacements for the original battery.

E-Bike Batteries Are Causing Hundreds Of Fires In New York: “Everybody Is Scared”

The image shows a building in New York after a lithium battery exploded, which left 38 injured.

“Lithium ion battery cells, when improperly manufactured, sold, stored or used, can present a serious and imminent danger to life and property”< /b>, said Laura Kavanagh, the acting commissioner of the New York Fire Department.

New York City officials wait new regulations that ensure the quality of the products that citizens can buy. The figures require it, since charging lithium-ion batteries for devices such as electric skateboards and bicycles caused 330 fires in the US between 2015 and 2018, causing, in addition to deaths and Mentioned injuries, over 9 million dollars in property damage.

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