Electric Bike Safety: Safe Storage and Charging
Electric bikes sold by reputable dealers are a safe and fun product that shouldn't pose any risks to you and your home, but just like any electrical product, there are DO's and DON'Ts that will help keep everyone safe.
In this section:
1) How we as a retailer increase e-bike safety
2) How you as a customer can store and charge your e-bike safely
How We Prioritise Safety
Not all electric bikes actually meet the definition of electric bike as approved by UK and European laws. We only sell bikes which are legally classed as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs or Pedelecs).
Pedelecs have to conform to a number limits - such as with their weight and power - in order to get their 'type approval' certification.
Energise E-bikes only sell type-approved pedelecs.
We only work with brands that can provide technical training, spare parts, and warranty support for their electric bikes.
Moreover, we only work with brands where this technical support is based here in the UK.
The batteries that are fitted into our electric bikes will have passed the CE and/or UKCA battery quality assessment.
The CE mark shows that the battery has been assessed as safe for European Union markets, while the UKCA, which follows nearly identical standards, shows that the battery has been assessed as safe for the British market.
Our bikes come with their own official chargers from the manufacturer. We don't mix and match chargers or source them separately. This means that the batteries and chargers are designed to work together safely.
All of our batteries have in-built Battery Management Systems (BMS) inside them. This is a piece of hardware which protects the cells in a battery from overcharging, and undercharging.
The BMS helps the battery to have a longer life and to perform better, but it also helps prevent your battery from voltage surges.
E-bike batteries without a BMS could become overcharged which makes a fire more likely.
By working with reputable e-bikes systems - Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, Fazua, Brose - we are able to make use of their diagnostic systems to check the state of batteries, and also to update the software on the bikes, which is important for maintaining the proper function of the bike and the battery.
How you can store and charge your e-bike safely
DIY e-bike 'conversion kits' allow people to add an electric motor to their bicycle, but not all of them are sold with a battery. The battery then must be purchased separately, sometimes from a different seller.
Cheaper batteries purchased from online sources which don’t necessarily adhere to UK safety regulations are more likely to fail and cause a fire. Buying batteries second hand means you may be buying a battery that is already damaged and a fire risk.
DIY installations can also lead to damage of the kit, increasing the chances of battery failure and the likelihood of a fire.
We do not recommend conversion kits as they can damage the bike mechanically, as well as being more of a fire safety risk as outlined above.
Incompatible chargers are the cause of many fires that you read about related to electric bikes.
An incompatible charger that pushes too much voltage into the battery could cause 'thermal runaway', an uncontrollable chemical reaction that causes fires that could destroy a room in minutes.
Source your replacement chargers from the original manufacturer or retailer.
Tampering with the electrics may cause damage and/or unintended consequences to the way your bike battery and charger work.
Damaged parts are more susceptible to overheating and causing fire.
Batteries can get warm during their use. Allow them to cool down before attempting to re-charge.
Batteries should always be charged on hard flat surfaces where heat can dissipate.
Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried.
Batteries should also never be exposed to extremes of temperature. Charge at room temperature away from heat sources.
Don't leave a battery charging unattended, or while you're sleeping.
Contact the manufacturer or your retailer for advice if you spot any of the following:
- Heat: It’s normal for batteries and chargers to generate some heat when charging or in use. However if your device’s battery feels extremely hot to the touch, there’s chance it’s defective.
- Bulging: A battery bulging or swelling out of shape is a common sign of it failing. If your battery looks swollen, you should stop using it immediately. Similar signs include any type of lump or leaking from the device.
- Noise: Failing lithium batteries have also been reported to make hissing or cracking sounds
- Smell: If you notice a strong or unusual smell coming from the battery, this could also be a sign of it failing
- Performance: A failure to fully charge or longer charge times can be a sign that your battery is failing. While this might not be a sign of danger, you may still need to get your battery checked out.
- Smoke: As you can imagine, if your battery or device is smoking, a fire has already started inside it. Seek safety immediately.