The rise of e-bike fires

E-bikes are an extremely convenient mode of transport, offering an environmentally friendly balance of easy travel and exercise. However, with more and more of these vehicles on the roads in the UK, the number of fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters has also increased.

E-bike fires are on the rise

Although data regarding the total number of fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters is limited, London Fire Brigade has shared some interesting statistics that support this upwards trend.

LFB claims that e-bikes and e-scooters have become London’s fastest-growing fire risk, with crews attending a fire on average once every two days in 2023. This is a huge increase in a span of 5 years, with LFB reporting just 5 such incidents in 2018.

Year-on-year, the number of fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters reported by London Fire Brigade are as follows:

– 2018: 5

– 2019: 12

– 2020: 31

– 2021: 78

– 2022: 116

– 2023: 183

With this data only relating to e-bike fires in the capital, the number of incidents throughout the UK as a whole is certainly much, much higher. There have been calls for stricter regulations of e-bikes and e-scooters, with promising developments in this area. For example, new standards and requirements for importers, manufacturers and distributors went into effect at the start of this year.

How are e-bikes fires started?

The main cause of e-bike fires is battery failure. Most e-bikes and e-scooters are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged in the home. This offers great convenience, but also requires diligence to ensure that the battery remains in safe, working order.

When they overheat, lithium-ion batteries release flammable gases, which can result in a fire or explosion. As these fires generate their own oxygen, they can be very difficult to extinguish and can devastate a home in minutes.

While many common items use lithium-ion batteries, including mobile phones, laptops and vapes, research from insurance company Aviva found that 71% of adults don’t know the warning signs of a lithium-ion battery that is about to fail.

Just like any household battery, e-bike batteries should be disposed of properly and not placed in general household waste. Incorrect disposal of the lithium-ion batteries that power e-bikes and e-scooters can lead to fires at landfills and other waste sites.

Reducing the risk of e-bike fires

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to reduce the risk of e-bike and e-scooter fires.

Charge the battery properly

– Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging the battery

– Always use the correct charger for your battery

– Don’t overcharge the battery

– Make sure to unplug the charger after charging your battery


Take good care of the battery

– Never modify or tamper with the battery

– Avoid knocking or damaging the battery during use or while carrying

– Get to know the signs of a lithium-ion battery that is about to fail

– Check the battery regularly for signs of damage and replace damaged batteries

– Never expose the battery to extreme high or low temperatures

– Allow the battery to cool down after use before attempting to charge it

– Dispose of old or damaged lithium-ion batteries properly


Charge the battery safely

– Never charge the battery unattended or while you’re asleep

– Never cover chargers or battery packs while they’re charging

– Never charge the battery near combustible or flammable materials

– Charge the battery on a hard, flat surface to avoid overheating


General fire safety

– Never charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter where it may block an escape route

– Ensure that you have a working smoke or heat alarm wherever you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter

– Don’t overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads

– Don’t attempt to extinguish an e-bike or e-scooter fire. Get out of the house and call 999.

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