Practical tips and guidance to help identify potential hazards and prevent electrical fires in your home.
E-bike and E-Scooters
How to prevent e-bike and e-scooter fires, charging them safely, and what to do in case of a fire
Lithium-ion batteries and E-bikes
E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular. The Bike Association estimates that there are around 550,000 in the UK.
They are usually powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are small, lightweight, and hold lots of power. These types of batteries are found in products such as phones, tablets, and e-cigarettes.
Are they safe?
Charging e-bikes and e-scooters should always be done safely. Failing to do so creates a risk of a fire that puts your families and homes at risk. The damage from these types of fires can be devastating, as seen in the following news articles.
- Fire investigators issue urgent warning over fires involving e-bike batteries
- E-scooter bursting into flames in a London home caught on video
On occasions where batteries fail catastrophically, they can explode and/or lead to a rapidly developing fire.
The disposal of lithium-ion batteries, such as incorrectly placing them in general household and recycling waste, can lead to significant waste fires.
What to do in the event of a lithium-ion battery fire
In some cases, your first instinct could be to try to extinguish the fire yourself. As the fire is- related to the compressed gas
In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire, do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Get out, stay out, call 999.
How to keep prevent e-bike and e-scooter fires
Follow these key messages to minimise the risk of fire:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on charging and charging times.
- Never overcharge your battery.
- Unplug your charger when it’s finished charging and don't over charge it.
- Never charge batteries while you are asleep or away from the home. Only charge them while you are awake and alert, so if a fire should occur you can respond quickly.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms. If you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter in a garage or kitchen ensure you install detection. We recommend heat alarms rather than smoke detectors for these areas.
- Always use the manufacturer-approved charger for the product. If you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage, buy an official replacement charger from a reputable seller.
- Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging. This could lead to overheating or even a fire.
- Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.
- Do not overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads.
- Use un-coiled extensions and ensure the lead is suitably rated for what you are plugging in to it.
- Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas. If there’s a fire, it can affect people’s ability to escape
- Store e-bikes and e-scooters and their batteries in a cool place. Avoid storing them in excessively hot or cold areas.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the storage and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries if they are not going to be used for extended periods of time.
- Responsible persons should consider the risks posed by e-bikes and e-scooters where they are charged or left in common areas such as means of escape, bike stores and mobility scooter charging rooms. They may wish to offer advice to residents on the safe use, storage and charging of these products.
- Buy e-bikes, e-scooters and chargers and batteries from reputable retailers.
- Many fires involve counterfeit electrical goods. Always check the items meet British or European standards. Items which don't meet these standards pose a huge fire risk.
- If buying an e-bike conversion kit, purchase from a reputable seller and check that it complies with British or European standards. Take particular care if buying from online auction or fulfilment platforms.
- Also be aware that if buying separate components, you should check that they are compatible.
- Register your product with the manufacturer. It makes it easier for manufacturers to contact you with safety information or when a product is recalled.
- Check any products you have bought are not subject to a product recall. You can do this but checking Electrical Safety First’s website or the government website.
Damage and Disposal
- Batteries can be damaged by dropping them or crashing e-bikes or e-scooters. Where the battery is damaged, it can overheat and catch fire without warning. Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage and if you suspect it is damaged it should be replaced and should not be used or charged.
- If you need to dispose of a damaged or end of life battery, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling. These batteries, when punctured or crushed can cause fires in bin lorries, recycling and waste centres. Your e- bike or e-scooter manufacturer may offer a recycling service. Alternatively check with your local authority for suitable battery recycling arrangements in your area.
For more information on electric scooter safety, visit Electrical Safety First.
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