Are E-bike batteries dangerous? E-bike batteries, fires, and how to reduce the risks.

E-bike battery fires have been a growing concern, with several incidents reported in recent years. In 2023 alone, there have been 114 investigations into lithium-ion fires, resulting in 74 injuries and 13 deaths[1]. In New York City, there have been 100 battery fires, causing 13 deaths, more than double the six fatalities in the previous year[2]. In the first half of 2023, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) was called to an e-bike or e-scooter fire once every two days[3].


Some common causes of e-bike battery fires include:


  • Electrical: Overcharge or over-discharge, incompatibility between the battery and charger, sub-standard battery management system, or external short circuit[3].
  • Mechanical: Crushing or penetration of a battery with an external object[3].
  • User error: Overcharging the battery or using a faulty charger[5].


The rise in e-bike battery fires has led to calls for tighter regulations, safety standards, and compliance testing to reduce the risk of fires[2]. Some experts suggest that substandard goods, such as e-bikes and third-party batteries, chargers, and conversion kits, pose a significant risk and should be subject to stricter safety measures[3].


To stay safe and reduce the risk of battery fires, it is essential to:


  • Purchase e-bikes and batteries from reputable manufacturers and sellers[3].
  • Ensure compatibility between the battery and charger[3].
  • Use the charger provided by the manufacturer or a certified replacement[3].
  • Avoid overcharging the battery and unplug it when fully charged[5].
  • Inspect the battery for any signs of damage or wear before use[1].


While there are no specific statistics on the number of e-bike battery fires compared to the total number of e-bikes sold, the increasing number of incidents highlights the need for improved safety measures and awareness[4].