With sales skyrocketing in recent years, electric bikes have gained immense popularity as a convenient mode of transportation. The Light Electric Vehicle Association, an industry group, has reported a significant surge in the import of e-bikes to the United States, estimating a staggering 1.1 million units in 2022 alone, marking a notable increase compared to previous years.
However, as the usage of these electric bikes continues to soar, apprehensions surrounding their power source have also been growing. The nation has witnessed a series of alarming incidents involving lithium-ion batteries, resulting in numerous fires erupting across various regions, including South Florida.
Concerns regarding lithium-ion battery fires have become prominent in South Florida, as evidenced by incidents such as the fire at Andante Bike Shop.
Although the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) does not specifically track fires by battery type, they have identified multiple cases where lithium batteries or devices utilizing them have ignited. MDFR fire and explosion investigator Lt. Mike Adams expressed the growing apprehension, emphasizing that the department recently organized an event to educate insurance companies about the fire hazards associated with lithium-ion batteries.
Lt. Adams clarified that the increase in fires is not due to a flaw in the batteries themselves but rather the sheer proliferation of devices containing them. He explained that virtually every rechargeable item incorporates at least one lithium-ion battery, which contributes to the higher occurrence of incidents.
Lt. Adams further attributed fires to factors such as improper charging, poor maintenance, and inadequate storage. Stressing the risks, he cautioned that negligence, such as using an incorrect charger or leaving it unattended in an unprotected area, can potentially lead to a fire.