One of the significant concerns about electric bikes and their batteries is they catch fire while charging making them life-threatening. Sometimes the ebike battery explodes too and such cases are increasing.
Have you ever wondered why do ebike batteries catch fire? What can be the suspected reasons for this serious issue?
If you are planning to get an ebike or already riding one, you must know the reasons for electric bike battery fires and how you can prevent them by taking some safety measures.
Once you read this article, you will be able to prevent your ebike battery from catching fire.
Why Do Ebike Batteries Catch Fire? | 9 Major Reasons
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in electric bikes as they are lightweight, have a high energy density, and have a low self-discharge rate if managed properly. However, they sometimes catch fire due to the following reasons:
1. Due to any damaged cell
One of the main reasons e-bike batteries catch fire is their design. E-bike batteries are designed to be compact and lightweight, which means they are often made up of many connected small cells. If one of these cells is damaged or defective, it can cause a chain reaction that can lead to a fire.
Overcharging is another common cause of e-bike battery fires. Lithium-ion batteries are designed to be charged to a certain level, and if they are overcharged, they can overheat and catch fire. This can happen if the charger or battery BMS is faulty or the battery is left to charge for too long.
3. Due to overheating
Another factor that can contribute to e-bike battery fires is overheating. Lithium-ion batteries generate heat when used; if they get too hot, they can become unstable and catch fire. This can happen if the battery is used for extended periods without a break or is exposed to high temperatures.
4. Insufficient storage space
Improper storage and transportation can also increase the risk of e-bike battery fires. If the battery is stored in a hot or humid environment, it can become damaged, leading to a fire.
Similarly, if the battery is dropped or exposed to physical damage during transportation, it can damage a cell from the inside and may lead to catching fire.
5. Physical damage
If an e-bike battery is physically damaged internally or externally, it can cause a short circuit in the battery cells, leading to a thermal runaway reaction. This reaction can cause the battery to catch fire or explode.
6. Non-certified ebike batteries
In most cases, non-certified ebike batteries are found to be guilty as per investigations by the authorities. The reason behind the fire is that they are already damaged internally and are still sold in the market via e-commerce websites. Such batteries are found in ebike conversion kits.
7. Manufacturing defect
In rare cases, e-bike batteries can catch fire due to manufacturing defects. These defects may include improper assembly, the use of substandard materials, or errors in the manufacturing process.
If a battery has a defect, it may be more prone to overheating or short-circuiting, leading to a fire or explosion. They are mostly found in Chinese or non-branded batteries.
8. Replica (first copy) batteries
A false battery can still spark a fire even if it is not damaged. This is because fake batteries frequently do not undergo thorough inspections and may even be incompatible with the charger for your e-bike.
To guarantee that you only receive the highest-quality batteries that have undergone extensive testing and certification, it is important to avoid purchasing fake batteries.
9. Faulty battery management system (BMS)
A faulty BMS system can cause an ebike battery to overcharge and overheat which leads to an ebike battery fire risk. Why I am saying this?
Your battery would not overcharge if it has a BMS in working condition as it is considered the brain of the battery pack because the battery management system manages each and every task of the battery such as charging, supplying power to the motor, receiving power through the charger, when to disconnect from charging, and so on.
These were the suspected reasons which may cause ebike batteries to catch fire. Now, let’s learn how you can prevent an ebike battery fire.
How to Prevent Ebike Battery Fires: 5 Safety Tips
Follow the below-mentioned safety guidelines provided by the authorities for ebike battery fire prevention:
1. Charge your battery with a quality charger
First, make sure to use a high-quality charger that is specially designed for your specific e-bike battery. Avoid using chargers not recommended by the manufacturer (high-amp chargers) or with a poor safety record.
Also, don’t charge your battery with a damaged charger or another ebike battery’s charger if you want to keep your ebike battery safe and increase its lifespan.
2. Avoid overcharging
Overcharging the battery is not a good practice so avoid it, also never leave it to charge overnight or unattended. If you do so, your battery may get heated and catch fire. I would recommend you charge your ebike battery up to 90 percent. That’s it.
3. Keep it away from sunlight
Avoid direct sunlight or sources of heat when storing your battery. If you need to transport your battery, pack it in a sturdy container to protect it from physical damage as lithium is a highly reactive material.
4. Take proper care
If you notice any signs of damage or malfunction with your battery, such as swelling, leakage, or overheating, stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer or a professional technician for assistance.
Please do not attempt to repair the battery yourself unless you know the process or dispose of it in the regular trash.
5. Verify your batteries
It is important to verify the certification of your e-bike or its batteries. Make sure you get an e-Bike or a new battery from a reliable company with the necessary certifications.
Be sure the credentials are issued by reputable organizations like UL2849 certification and TUVRheinland, which have strict requirements that battery manufacturers must meet or surpass to receive certification.
When bringing a used e-bike home, ensure it is certified and properly check it for any potential damage, especially to the battery and charger.
6. Control fire using an extinguisher instead of water
You must have a fire extinguisher if you charge your ebike battery at home. Be alert and attentive, if something bad occurs you can react right away. Hence, you may disconnect it immediately and let it cool down if it starts to heat up and smell strange.
Instead, if it bursts and starts to burn, you may immediately put out the fire using a fire extinguisher, preventing it from spreading to the rest of the home.
Conclusion: Why Are Ebike Batteries Catching Fire
I hope you have understood why do ebike batteries catch fire some of the suspected reasons are design flaws, overcharging & overheating of batteries, improper storage, and bad transportation, etc.
You can protect it by following safety guidelines, using high-quality chargers, storing your battery properly, and seeking professional help if you notice any signs of damage or malfunction.
By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of e-bikes while minimizing the risk of fire hazards. Consider your e-battery bikes to be its most potent component.
Although e-bike batteries are made to withstand the punishment of regular usage, you should still check for any accidents or general wear and tear.
FAQs: Why Are Ebike Batteries Exploding
What are the symptoms of a lithium-ion battery fire?
Certified ebike batteries rarely catch fire but there are some local batteries that may catch fire and have some symptoms such as overheating, bad odor, color changes, leakage, change in shape, odd noises, etc. If you notice any of these stop using the battery.
Can a regular fire extinguisher put out an ebike battery fire?
Putting out a lithium-ion battery fire is not easy with a regular fire extinguisher because lithium-ion batteries reignite repeatedly even if they have been put out. So you need a piece of special equipment to contain the blaze.
What temperature does a lithium-ion battery catch fire at?
Lithium-ion batteries are likely to catch fire when they reach 500°C (932°F). At this temperature level, the battery becomes very hot and leads to thermal runaway.
Where should ebike batteries be stored to prevent fire?
Never store an uncharged lithium-ion battery, make sure that your battery is charged between 30 to 80 percent. Store your battery in a dry place that is neither much hot nor much cold. Such a place can be a garage or your home.