As gas prices soar and awareness about environmental issues spreads, many people are making the change to electric vehicles, such as e-bikes, to save a buck and lower pollution.
Some landlords and HOAs have responded by banning e-bikes and electric vehicles (EVs) from parking spaces, occasionally citing safety concerns. While they are right to be cautious, an outright ban is uncalled for, as there are simple ways to store and charge electric vehicles safely.
What is the safety concern regarding e-bikes?
As one Reddit user’s apartment complex pointed out in an email, small EVs contain rechargeable batteries, which can overheat when not maintained correctly.
“While we support and enjoy these types of sporting vehicles and devices, they can pose problems and risks in regard to overheating, potentially causing fires when being charged,” the complex said.
While some fires have been traced to e-bikes or other devices with rechargeable batteries, these are overwhelmingly caused by incorrect care and use.
Lithium-ion battery fires are most often caused by batteries that have been changed or repaired by untrained technicians. In 2022, a notable New York City e-bike fire was found to have been caused by what authorities said was a resident running an unauthorized battery repair business out of his apartment unit.
Why switch to an e-bike?
Like the landlords banning EVs, some people incorrectly assume that e-bikes are too risky to store at home. However, there are several major benefits that make it worthwhile to learn to use an e-bike safely.
Because they have a motor, e-bikes are far less tiring to ride than a traditional bike, making them practical for longer commutes, especially when you don’t wish to show up to your location sweaty and out of breath. At the same time, they’re smaller and lighter than a car, so they use very little power, making them extremely cheap to ride.
Also, EVs of any size are a smart choice for the planet. Fuel-burning cars and motorcycles generate air pollution that traps heat in our atmosphere and warms up the Earth, which leads to stronger, more devastating extreme weather events.
EVs are part of the shift toward cleaner energy sources for a cooler planet.
How can I make sure my e-bike won’t catch fire?
First, overcharging a battery can cause it to overheat, so following the manufacturer’s instructions and not leaving the battery to charge too long is essential.
Second, riders should choose a quality battery and charger, which have better safety features, as Electrek pointed out.
UL Solutions certifies electric batteries to ensure their safety. It’s worth investing in a quality battery, even if it costs more upfront because it can prevent costly and dangerous situations later.
Finally, if a battery is damaged, you should go directly to the manufacturer for repairs instead of doing the work yourself or giving the job to a third party. Unlicensed repair work isn’t monitored or subjected to safety standards and can create defective, unsafe batteries and chargers.
Ultimately, the apartment complex whose email was shared on Reddit only wants residents to follow these simple safety rules, and the comments on the original post are very positive.
“I think that it is a very fair and reasonable request as opposed to outright banning of all PEV’s in the apartment building,” said one user.
“I bought an outlet timer as I am planning on getting an ebike at some point. Just an extra layer of safety,” added another Redditor.
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