Editor’s note: with all the recent discussion about e-bike battery safety within the trade, another very important constituency that needs to be aware of potential issues is e-bike owners. Mike Fritz, chief technology officer with Human Powered Solutions, has created this “open letter” for retailers and others to use as a guideline for educating their customers about best practices related to e-bike battery and charging safety.
Congratulations on joining the Micromobility Revolution! You are about to discover the benefits of enhanced personal mobility while improving your physical fitness and rediscovering the joys of cycling.
E-bikes are simple yet sophisticated marvels of engineering. They are lightweight and powerful. Most importantly, they take advantage of a very important development in energy storage through chemical engineering, the lithium-ion battery.
Lithium-ion batteries enable the storage of sufficient energy and the delivery of sufficient power to make e-bikes practical and useful for any number of personal transportation missions.
However, lithium-ion batteries, like any energy-dense storage medium, carry some risk associated with the uncontrolled release of the energy they carry. We are all aware of fires associated with products that utilize lithium-ion batteries for their energy storage needs. E-bikes are no exception.
While significant work is being done by scientists and engineers working in laboratories all over the world to eliminate the causes of these fires, certain actions on the part of users of products using these batteries can significantly diminish the likelihood of a fire, and mitigate the effects of such a fire in the unlikely event they experience a battery failure.
This document is intended to be a guide for consumers regarding the safe use, charging, maintenance, and storage of the lithium-ion batteries that power their e-bikes.
Please know that the chances of your e-bike battery failing in a catastrophic manner are miniscule, but the potential ramifications of such a failure are so significant that these relatively simple precautions are more than justified.
BATTERY SAFETY BEST PRACTICES
- Only use the charger that was supplied with your e-bike. NEVER attempt to charge the battery pack with a different charger or power supply.
- Do not open or otherwise tamper with your battery pack. There are no user serviceable parts inside the battery pack. Opening the pack will void the warranty and could cause a serious problem leading to a fire.
- Charging the battery pack on the e-bike is preferred. However, if you charge the battery pack off the bike, place the pack on a non-flammable surface, like a concrete floor, away from flammable materials, before starting to charge it.
- Charge the battery in an area with a working smoke detector.
- NEVER CHARGE THE BATTERY UNATTENDED OR UNATTENDED OVERNIGHT.
- If the battery pack overheats, or if you notice an odor, smoke, or odd noises coming from the battery pack, and if it is safe to do so, move the pack away from flammable materials, preferably outdoors, and call 911.
- Monitor the battery and charger during the charging process. When the charger indicates that the battery is fully charged, unplug the charger from the wall outlet and disconnect it from the battery pack.
- Do not leave the charger ON and connected to the battery pack indefinitely.
- For extended periods of non-use, store your battery pack in a clean, dry environment away from flammable materials.
- Store the battery pack at temperatures between 40℉ to 100℉ (4.5℃ to 38℃).
- Battery packs are best stored at 50% capacity. Recharge the pack for 60 minutes every other month to prevent deep discharge.
- If the battery is dropped or damaged, or immersed in water, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CHARGE IT. Store it in a safe place, preferably outdoors, until it can be taken to a shop to be inspected.
- E-bike shops participating in the Call2Recycle recycling program are trained to identify damage that renders a battery pack potentially dangerous, and how to dispose of a battery in a dangerous condition.
- When your battery pack reaches the end of its useful life and can no longer hold a sufficient charge, return it to your dealer for recycling.
- Replace an end-of-life battery pack with a replacement pack provided by the original supplier of your e-bike.
- DO NOT ATTEMP TO HAVE YOUR ORIGINAL PACK ‘REFURBISHED.’
- DO NOT REPLACE YOUR BATTERY PACK WITH A PACK FROM A 3RD PARTY SUPPLIER.
Disclaimer: You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through these guidelines. Human Powered Solutions, LLC (HPS) does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through these guidelines. No advice or information given by HPS shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of these guidelines is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions related to the development or installation of battery storage and charging stations, battery storage and battery charging protocols, or emergency procedures, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through these guidelines. HPS disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.
Contact Mike Fritz: firstname.lastname@example.org