What's In This Article
Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, seem like the new, trendy way to get around town these days. Although e-bikes can be a fun and convenient method of transportation, are there hidden dangers in riding one?
Electric bike batteries are generally very safe and can be used and enjoyed with little risk. However, there have been a few cases of e-bike-related fires and explosions in recent years. Fires and explosions may encourage some to exercise caution when using electric bike batteries.
We’ll lay out why fires and explosions occur with e-bikes, how to prevent these accidents from occurring, and what to do if your e-bike catches on fire. Hopefully, this information will leave you feeling informed and prepared the next time you set out on an e-bike.
Causes of Electric Bike Battery Explosions
If you own an e-bike, chances are it functions using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many devices besides electric bikes, including laptops, smartphones, and electric cars.
Lithium-ion batteries have evolved to be versatile these days, so it is no surprise e-bikes also use them.
Lithium-ion batteries have become popular recently because they are easily portable yet still hold an abundance of power. Additionally, these batteries are super convenient to use because they don’t need to be replaced periodically like other types of batteries.
Just plug your device or battery into the wall socket when it loses power. One single battery could last in a device for many years. However, when the lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes malfunction, explosions can occur.
You probably use lithium-ion batteries with little to no concern, as battery explosions are rare. You are probably storing some in your home or office right now. While you shouldn’t avoid devices with lithium-ion batteries, you should nevertheless be aware of their risks.
When using lithium-ion batteries, it is important to remember that they hold a lot of energy in a small package. Their compacted energy and natural flammability can cause them to overheat. Overheating can produce dangerous chemical reactions with fire-starting potential.
Therefore, there is always a risk of explosions and fires when lithium-ion batteries overheat. The risk of overheating increases when batteries are cheaply made and old, which makes these batteries more likely to malfunction.
Preventing Electric Bike Battery Explosions
The thought of a battery exploding or catching fire while you ride your e-bike can feel terrifying. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent accidents when using a bike powered by a lithium-ion battery.
Taking precautions while choosing bikes and batteries as well as properly storing these items will help prevent electric bike battery explosions and fires. In these next sections, we’ll give you information about preventing e-bike battery explosions.
Tips For Choosing Safe Equipment
Purchasing safe equipment is one of the best ways to prevent electric bike battery explosions. All e-bikes are different, so you should stay up-to-date about how to choose the safest options.
To ensure your equipment is safe:
- Only purchase new electric bikes and batteries, as old and second-hand equipment is more susceptible to accidents.
- Check manufacturer reviews or speak with experts to ensure that your equipment is high-quality.
- Make sure all batteries are laboratory certified.
- Only purchase charging cords and other power accessories that go with your specific bike.
- Never purchase broken or damaged equipment.
It may be more cost-effective to buy a used or lower-quality electric bike. However, using the best equipment will allow you to enjoy your e-bike without worrying about safety risks. Buying more expensive equipment now can get you ahead later on.
Tips For Proper Storage of Electric Bike Batteries
In addition to purchasing high-quality equipment, it is important to ensure that your electric bike batteries are stored safely to help mitigate fire risks. While a fire-proof container is the safest storage method, you can also store e-bike batteries without one.
To safely store your e-bike’s batteries:
- Ensure that you never expose batteries to extreme temperatures that could cause them to burst; store them at room temperature.
- Keep batteries away from all materials that could easily catch fire, especially fabric.
- Once you fully charge your batteries, immediately take them off the charger to prevent them from overheating.
- If you notice that a battery appears to be damaged or is leaking, dispose of it immediately using e-waste or battery-disposal services.
Paying close attention to the condition of your lithium-ion batteries, whether they are in use or not, will ensure your safety and prevent damage. If you are ever suspicious that your battery is damaged, dispose of it safely and buy a new one.
What To Do If Your E-Bike Battery Explodes?
If your e-bike battery explodes, immediately call the fire department. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are hazardous because they are very hard to stop and can spread very quickly. In addition to the actual fire, lithium-ion batteries can also produce toxic gasses that can harm your lungs.
Using a Class BC or Class ABC fire extinguisher can help control fires in many cases. However, you should call the fire department, even if you think you put the fire out. If you cannot control the fire, evacuate the area quickly and safely and wait for the firefighters to arrive.
If your battery is not on fire but you notice smoke or the battery feels hot, proceed with caution. Warning signs of fire include overheating. You should contact the fire department or Environmental Health and Safety for assistance if you ever run into this issue.
So, do electric bike batteries explode? The short answer is that, yes, electric bike batteries can explode. Electric bike batteries and lithium-ion batteries in general cause very few explosions and fires. Purchasing a high-quality e-bike and proper storage decreases the likelihood of accidental fires.
Don’t let the possibility of your electric bike exploding or combusting ruin your fun. The proper precautions and a watchful eye will allow you to experience the thrill of an electric bike without worrying about the possibility of spontaneous combustion.
Jason Hawkley is a biking enthusiast, which is a nice way of saying he’s a total nerd when it comes to bikes. One day while mountain biking through the woods in New Hampshire, the idea came him to create Our Streets as a way to share his biking passion with you.