The Issue:

Many of us love to be outside on our bikes, and with gas prices increasing, electric bikes (E-Bikes) have exploded in popularity. Unfortunately, as we are learning, if you aren’t careful, their popularity is not the only thing exploding. 

With more and more people bringing E-Bike batteries into their homes (with potential to explode), we as your risk managers feel it is necessary to share information to assist you in reducing your risk so that your families and homes remain protected. If you have a tenant, you will also want to make sure they are following the risk reduction tips below.  

Recently, there have been numerous reports on battery explosions; one report from the Vancouver Sun mentioned that Vancouver City Firefighters are now responding to more than 50 battery explosion calls a year. In New York, where the issue is also prominent, 200 fires and six deaths were caused by rechargeable batteries last year alone. 

It is starting to become known that batteries have real risks with real consequences if not management properly. For a glimpse of just how quickly these explosions could be become a threat to you, watch as this man’s bike explodes without warning –  E-Bike Explosion | UK News | Sky News

So the question becomes, are E-bikes a bad thing?

Well no, we think they are a great way for you to explore the outdoors or commute to work– but we can’t emphasize enough that proper use and management of them is a necessity for your safety, and for the safety of those around you.

Known Explosion Causes: 

  •  The E-battery market is highly unregulated, and as a result there are many batteries sold without the proper testing for product defects. 
  • In the case that a CSA or ULC approved battery has run its’ course, individuals have looked for cheap unnamed & uncertified aftermarket batteries as the replacements.  
  • Individuals have failed to follow manufacturing directions and recommendations, especially when it comes to charging the battery properly.
  • Individuals have outfitted their own bikes with aftermarket electrical components. 

Suggested Risk Reduction Tips: 

  • Buy an E-Bike that is certified by a qualified testing laboratory, and make sure you use a charger that has one of the recognized Canadian certification marks, such as CSA, cUL, or CETL. These marks indicate that the products are assessed to the required Canadian Electrical safety standards. 
  • Do not replace your battery with an aftermarket battery that is not approved or certified.
  • Store Batteries out of the sun and away from anything flammable – because if they over heat, they will explode.  
  • Do not store your e-bike near your bed, or blocking doorways and exits, but rather store it in an isolated place in the event that explosion could occur. 
  • Always use the manufacturing instructions for storage and charging, along with using the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for that bike. 

Reference Articles:
Vancouver Sun June 23, 2023
NY Times June 06, 2023

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