Electric Bike batteries have been a hot topic in the past couple years. As eBikes become more and more prevalent, discussions around their safety have naturally come up. We at ERIK’S have been proponents of eBikes from the beginning, seeing their ability to make commuting easier, get more people back into riding, or introducing new folks to the sport of cycling. During this journey we’ve continually worked with our vendors, like Specialized and Aventon, and other resources to ensure that the bikes and systems we sell meet the highest safety standards. The safety of our customers and staff is paramount.
ONGOING DEMAND FOR SAFETY REGULATION
With the increase of demand and more electric bikes in the market, so too has there been an increase in safety issues related to their lithium-ion batteries. While the bicycle industry and government regulatory bodies respond to these concerns, there is ever evolving information and regulations being put in place but these all lack a comprehensive solution and clarity.
With the recent legislation passed in New York stating that only bikes certified to a new UL standard, UL2849, will be able to be sold there, there have been concerns about the safety of current eBikes. You can read about the specifics of UL2849 here. While UL2849 has been the focus of many articles recently, eBikes from reputable brands, including all the ones we sell here at ERIK’S, have had their electrical components tested to existing standards that, in many cases, exceed the requirements of the new certification. The main difference with UL2849 is that it is for an entire eBike (or eSystem) rather than having different certifications for individual components.
As new standards are developed, it takes time for manufacturers to catch up. Existing and new bikes have to be tested to make sure they adhere to the standard and if everyone is trying to get certified at once, especially with existing models, it will take months or longer to get through them all. ACT, a lab company that performs these tests and awards certifications, has a page on what is tested for UL2849 and why it was developed. Regulation and certification for electric bikes, the batteries and components are an evolving area. While the CPSC (The European Union is way ahead of the US in this regard) is in process of establishing clear guidelines, we want you to be assured that all bikes sold by ERIK’S meet at least one of the following criteria:
If you want learn more about the differences between UL2849 and EN-15194, check out this webinar from UL.
BEST PRACTICES FOR SAFE EBIKE USE AND STORAGE
There are steps as a consumer you can take to lower your risk of issues even more. The basics are to read the manual that comes with your eBike and make sure you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations for charging, storage, etc. For example, most manufacturers recommend NOT leaving your eBike/eBike battery plugged in overnight. You should only use electrical components, like chargers and batteries, that come with your bike. If you need replacement parts or accessories, check with the manufacturer to ensure you get the exact part you need as even within a brand, different models can use slightly different electrical components. For information on eBike best practices check out this great resource from PeopleForBikes, eBike Smart.
Most of the problems that have been reported on with eBikes and their batteries come from stories of large amounts of batteries charging in a small area, often without proper supervision and being left on the charger for far too long. Many of these incidents also occurred with off-brand, uncertified, or homemade battery packs and chargers. This further shows that reputable brands are generally not the problem. At ERIK’S, even with well tested batteries, we’ve instituted strict policies on charging and have incident procedures in place to provide the safest possible environment in our stores for staff and customers.
PEACE OF MIND
If you stick with bikes from reputable manufacturers, follow their recommendations, and research their track record you’ll set yourself up for success. If you decide to take your business to ERIK’S, you can be confident we’ve put in the time to vet our vendors and follow these standard and regulation changes as they evolve to offer the best service possible. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you to the best bike for your use case and set you up with the ins and outs of the bike before you walk out the door. Be safe and happy riding!