The Fire Commissioner of New York demands a ban of bad aftermarket E-bike lithium batteries
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In 2022 the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) proposed to ban micro mobility electric vehicles from its 170,000 apartments after 31 e-bike fires occurred at NYCHA developments in the last two years
Already towards the end of 2022, several NYC apartment buildings banned e-bikes and e-scooters due to risks associated with charging the lithium-ion battery packs. Now the NYC Fire Commissioner is asking the government to ban dangerous aftermarket batteries and universal chargers.
According to NBC News, New York City’s top fire official Laura Kavanagh has asked the federal government to do more to keep substandard lithium-ion batteries out of the United States and regulate chargers and electric bikes, after hundreds of battery fires and six fatalities in the city in 2022.
Laura Kavanagh wrote a letter to the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission thanking the agency for its work in issuing multiple recalls of flawed e-bikes, but also urging it to seize more substandard batteries at ports, to ban “universal” battery chargers, and push e-bike and e-scooter manufacturers to make their vehicle models work only with approved batteries.
“The FDNY is on the front lines of this fight against deadly fires involving batteries … and we are grateful for every tool available to help,” Kavanagh wrote.
Micro mobility vehicles "non grata" in New York since 2022
Due to a large uptick of deadly fires connected to the charging of lithium batteries, several NYC apartment buildings and large housing coops have banned, or are considering banning, the use of E-scooters and E-bikes on their premises.
The City/NYC wrote on December 15, 2022 about how large numbers of recent deadly fires at apartment buildings are leading property managers in New York City to confront their apparent cause: e-bike batteries.
According to the article, the iconic London Terrace Towers - one of the biggest co-ops in the city - found themselves in a growing debate about banning e-bikes from residential properties due to fear about them sparking fires.
Last summer of 2022, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) proposed to ban these types of electric vehicles from its 170,000 apartments after 31 e-bike fires occurred at NYCHA developments in the last two years.
Fordham University recently sent out a notice to students advising that e-bikes and e-scooters are banned from campus.
According to Axios.com, at least one large NYC landlord — Glenwood Management, which runs 26 luxury high-rises — told tenants to permanently remove any e-bikes.
CBS News wrote already in the beginning of November that a growing number of apartment buildings are now banning e-bikes on their properties, citing fire hazards as the reason.
However, some feel banning E-vehicles is the wrong direction to go:
Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, an organizer with Los Deliveristas Unidos, a group that fights for the rights of food delivery workers, many of whom ride e-bikes for work, suggests authorities should look for alternatives to prevent deadly fires, rather than banning the E-vehicles altogether.
" ... how we can do this better and safer and people to come forward? I think the banning is just taking us back in a totality different direction", she says to CBS.
Photo Credit: (Above) Fire Safety Research Institute. The caption to their photo reads: "When lithium-ion batteries fail or overheat, they release flammable, toxic gases that can spark a fast-spreading fire which is extremely difficult to extinguish".