Take care when you’re charging the battery for your electric bike or scooter

An e-bike fire in Shepherd's Bush

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to stay safe after a series of recently reported fires involving electric bikes and scooters.

Most electric vehicles are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

While electric vehicles are fundamentally safe, the main danger comes when the battery is damaged, perhaps if exposed to extreme heat or if something penetrates the battery cell wall.

These fires are rare but, when they do occur, they can be extremely dangerous.

During an electric vehicle fire, more than 100 organic chemicals are generated, including some highly toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, both of which can prove fatal.

There have been nine deaths nationally from e-bike and e-scooter fires and hundreds of injuries since 2020.

The picture is even worse overseas where, in New York City for example, 14 people have been killed in e-bike fires this year.

If you are looking to buy an electric bike or scooter, please be sure to keep to the following guidelines:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer – if the price is too good to be true, it probably is
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s guidance on charging and storing
  • Always charge during the day when you are at home
  • Always unplug after use
  • Register electrical items at https://www.registermyappliance.org.uk/
  • Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures
  • Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water
  • Do not overcharge your product – once your item is fully charged disconnect it and turn the charger off
  • Don’t overload plug sockets

Don’t forget that having working smoke alarms in your house can save lives. Please ensure that you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them each week.

If the worst should happen and a fire breaks out then don’t try to tackle it yourself but Get Out, Stay Out and dial 999 to ask for the fire service.

E-bike fire picture: London Fire Brigade