The e-bike that caught fire on a busy Manhattan street earlier this month is one of at least 166 lithium battery fires reported over the past seven months. New York – in just 24 hours, four happened – two people were killed and 61 people were injured.
A cluster of lithium battery fires, one in Brooklyn and three in Manhattan, engulfed residential areas in April, burning 12 people’s homes.
The deaths, one in February and another in March, were two people who were burned to death by a blaze that started when their electric bikes were plugged into the mains at home. They both succumbed to their injuries a few weeks after the incidents.
The severe statistics have led the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to issue a stern warning to e-bike owners urging them to immediately stop using an overheated battery and follow the manufacturer’s charging and storage instructions.
Experts blame the fires on cheap e-bikes, the number of riders using them, and the overuse of a damaged battery.
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There have been more than 100 electric bike fires in New York this year. This is due to damaged or defective batteries. This incident was recorded earlier this month.
An e-bike caught fire on a busy Manhattan street as pedestrians and cyclists passed by.
Mike Mike Fritz, co-founder of consulting firm Human Powered Solutions, told DailyMail.com that New York City has become the epicenter of e-bike fires, and this is due to a massive influx of delivery personnel using e-bikes. cycles to zip from one descent to another. There are at least 65,000 biker messengers in the city.
Because many of them are on a low income, they can’t afford a $900 new battery or buy it from third-party sites that crowd out faulty cells and battery management systems that are vital to regulating battery performance and temperature.
“A cheap backpack is a notable incident and the cause of most fires,” Fritz told DailyMail.com.
This year also surpassed 2021 in the number of battery fires, with 100 fires in all of last year.
E-bikes are the vehicle of choice for delivery workers because they give them an extra push that doesn’t require them to push hard during peddling.
This is achieved by an electrical component on the cycle, which is in turn powered by a lithium battery.
The battery consists of an anode, cathode, separator, electrolyte and two current collectors – positive and negative.
Lithium is stored both in the anode and in the cathode.
The electrolyte carries positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode and back through the separator.
However, when the separator fails, heat builds up and the electrolytes boil.
Then the pressure builds up in the cylinders, and when it can no longer hold, the electrolytes escape into a gas that ignites as soon as it enters the air.
Fritz explains that it is a slow-burning fire that quickly turns into a giant flame.
Fires don’t just happen to e-bikes on the go, but they’re becoming a major problem for those connected to New York City homes and apartments.
The FDNY recently issued an alert after managing to put out four fires in just 24 hours. In the photo on the right, the damage inside the house after the fire was extinguished.
The fire started because of the electric bike, which was allegedly left in the wall for charging.
The spike in e-bike fires is linked to a massive influx of delivery personnel using battery-powered cycles to get from one stop to the next. The picture shows a group of burnt electric bikes lying on a Brooklyn street. The fire happened in May of this year.
“Lithium fires are impossible to put out,” Fritz said. “You need to interrupt cell to cell propagation or just let it run out of fuel.”
“One precaution: never charge the battery unattended, plug it in, and leave. If there is a failure, you have time to intervene.”
Fritz, who is an e-bike advocate, hopes these incidents are not deterring the public from owning an e-bike.
“This is a serious problem and being aware of it is the best short-term solution,” he said.
“There are technical solutions on the horizon, but until they appear, we must raise awareness.”