Are Lives Really at Risk Over Cheap E-bike Conversions?

Are Lives Really at Risk Over Cheap E-bike Conversions?

April 1, 2023 0 By EBUK Team

This news “report” comes from the London Fire Brigade who are worried about Londoners (and indeed anyone else in the UK) who is buying cheap lithium batteries online to use in e-bike conversions and it seems some people are putting lives at risk not least their own lives. The LFB’s main concern is that these Batteries do not adhere to UK safety regulations and are much more likely to catch fire.

What Does the UK Law Say About E-bike Batteries?

UK law states ” batteries used in such products must be inherently safe, regardless of where they are used, charged or stored. To support them, manufacturers may choose to apply standard EN 62133-2, which specifies requirements and safety tests for the safe operation of portable, sealed secondary lithium cells and batteries.

So what is “EN 62133-2”?

This law specifies requirements and tests for the safe operation of portable sealed lithium cells and batteries containing non-acid electrolytes, under intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.

The problem is there is no “seal of approval” sticker there is no list of companies that adhere to these laws and there is simply no way to tell that you are potentially buying a cheap, dangerous battery! So how can you tell? The LFB says “Faulty batteries can swell out of shape, make a hissing or cracking sound, emit a strong smell and smoke, and fail to hold their charge.” all of which would frighten most people off using them straight away.

The truth is most of these fires relating to e-bikes and other forms of electric transport have one thing in common and that is overcharging. People leave them charging overnight, people leave them in the living room charging and near flammable, non-fire resistant materials like curtains and carpets, by being a little more “battery aware” you can help prevent these kinds of fires, but don’t let stories like these put you off e-bikes or indeed buying cheap e-bike conversion kits online because 99.9% of people who buy one will never have any issues. Just ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are keeping yourself and your property safe…

Is the battery damaged, or swollen and does it spark when you put the plug into it?
If so don’t use it!
Does your charger cable have a safety fuse in it?
If so don’t use it!
Is there anything around the battery while it is charging that could catch fire?
If so, move it!

We here at EB-UK do NOT agree with the LFB’s statement of “Buying batteries second-hand means you may be buying a battery that is already damaged and a fire risk.”, but a little bit of awareness of the potential risks of these kinds of fires happening can only be a good thing.