Charity wants firework-like regulations for e-bike and e-scooter batteries

The Government has been told to regulate e-bike and e-scooter batteries like fireworks by a new report.

The report, by charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) recommends that the UK introduces mandatory third-party approval for the vehicles’ batteries.

This would force manufacturers to have their batteries approved by an accredited third party, such as a test lab.

Once approved, the products would then be supplied with a certificate proving they meet safety standards.

If implemented, the UK would follow New York City’s lead, after it introduced the requirement following a series of fatal fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

It comes after a flat fire caused by an e-bike that had been left charging overnight killed a mother and two young children in Cambridge earlier this month.

The report warns that without better regulation now, e-bikes and e-scooters risk an outright ban in future.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said that a fire caused by a battery bursting into flames is “unique” and requires “special measures”.

“The huge amount of energy that is released over time when a battery bursts into flames is unlike other fires – in a matter of minutes a room can be decimated,” she said.

“This unique type of fire requires special measures to tackle the increasing problem.”

She warned that substandard e-bike and e-scooter batteries are “claiming lives”.

“Substandard versions of these products are claiming lives, our recommendations are a first-of-their-kind to look at real solutions to tackling these fires and ensuring only safe products end up in people’s homes.

“Nothing is more precious than life and we want to ensure we do all we can to keep substandard batteries off the market.”

She added that the public should buy their scooters only from a “reputable” retailer.

“Once in people’s homes they are incredibly difficult to get out. Our recommendation would help to ensure that there are stricter rules around new e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries entering the market and to get on top of this problem once and for all,” she said.

“We would urge people to only buy their e-bike or e-scooter from a reputable retailer and to use a compatible charger with the device to reduce the risk of a ferocious fire.”