e-bike and e-scooter safety advice.

On average there was a fire from a lithium battery in an e-bike or e-scooter every two days in 2023 in London.

Lithium battery fires can spread quickly out of control

Whilst e-bikes and e-scooters offer a great way round the city, if the batteries become damaged or begin to fail they can start incredibly ferocious fires within seconds. 

The majority of fires related to e-bikes and e-scooter have happened in homes. These fires are often caused when charging batteries.

When these batteries are charged in communal areas or escape routes, a fire breaking out can quickly block people’s ability to escape.

Many of these fires are caused by incompatible chargers, modifications to e-bikes, or faulty or counterfeit products which are purchased online. This includes chargers, lithium batteries and conversion kits for e-bikes.

London Fire Brigade’s #ChargeSafe campaign wants to prevent fires in e-bikes and e-scooters. This page has important and simple safety tips to reduce the risk of fire to protect you and your community.

Charging your e-bike or e-scooter

There a number of ways you can reduce the risks when charging lithium batteries:

Only ever use the correct charger for your battery, otherwise you can greatly increase the risk of fire.

Always buy any replacement chargers from a reputable seller.

Using the wrong charger could mean that too much power is put into the battery, leading to failure and a dangerous fire.

Always avoid general ‘multi-plug’ chargers that fit different models unless specifically approved by the battery manufacturer, as they may not provide the right power for your battery and may greatly increase the risk of fire.

The warning signs your e-bike or e-bike battery is a fire hazard

Heat: It’s normal for batteries to generate some heat when charging or in use. However if your device’s battery feels extremely hot to the touch, there’s chance it’s defective and may start a fire

Bulging: A battery bulging or swelling out of shape is a common sign of it failing. If your battery looks swollen, you should stop using it immediately. Similar signs include any type of lump or leaking from the device

Noise: Failing lithium batteries have also been reported to make hissing or cracking sounds

Smell: If you notice a strong or unusual smell coming from the battery, this could also be a sign of it failing 

Performance: A failure to fully charge or an excessively longer charge times can be a sign that your battery is failing

Smoke: If your battery or device is smoking, a fire has already started and you should get out, raise the alarm and call 999

Conversion kits

Conversion kits allow people to add an electric motor to their bicycle. They are more likely to fail and cause a fire.

Not all of conversion kits are sold with a battery or charger. The battery or charger then must be purchased separately, sometimes from a different seller with the risk of the charger not being compatible and increasing the fire risk.

Guidance for Responsible People 

If you’re the responsible person for an office or residential building covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 - our Guidance notes provide advice on storage and charging, and also specifically look at the risks associated with fires in communal areas.

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