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Can an E-Bike Battery Explode or Catch Fire?

We’ve all heard, seen, and read stories of electric bikes or other tech catching fire. Fires can seem like a much more likely risk than they really are. So, what’s the truth behind e-bike batteries exploding or catching fire? Is it something an E-Bike user should be worried about?

Although rare, electric bike batteries can catch fire or explode. These fires are caused by damaging Lithium Ion battery components. To prevent damage to the battery, never overcharge it or store in places that are extremely hot or cold, and never attempt to fix or modify a damaged battery.

As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. This also applies to e-bikes and should be taken seriously. So, how can e-bikes catch fire exactly? And how can you avoid it? Read on for all the information you need!

Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Catch Fire or Explode?

Man Riding E Bike Bicycle In City

With new electronics and tech, there seems to be a trend of fire hazards occurring during the early stages of popularity and development. Unfortunately, electric bikes are not an exception to this rule. Most electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries, which can catch fire under certain circumstances.

When lithium-ion batteries reach a critical temperature or their casing is punctured, they can combust. The benefit of lithium-ion batteries is that they’re much more robust than lead and nickel batteries while remaining lightweight; the tradeoff, however, is that they are much more volatile. When the layers of material inside are cut or punctured, they contact each other in ways that cause heat and fire.

Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Safe?

In general, Lithium-Ion batteries are well understood and safe. These batteries are used in a multitude of different technologies and are considered a gold standard battery type for particular product niches.

It’s hard to get a definitive answer on how safe these batteries actually are. That being said, we can look to Tesla for some rough data. Tesla also uses lithium-ion batteries within their vehicles, although definitely on a different size and scale than E-Bikes.

According to Tesla, from 2012 to 2020, there has been approximately one vehicle fire for every 205 million miles. Data from the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that there’s typically a fire in traditional vehicles for every 19 million miles. So, by comparison, lithium-ion seems like a relatively safe option.

But that’s just some rough data to have something to go off. The odds of a properly maintained and cared for lithium-ion battery catching fire are quite low. It is of course a risk like many things, but with each year, technology is improving and developing to become safer.

Are E-Bike Batteries Dangerous?

If properly maintained and cared for, electric bike batteries aren’t usually dangerous. That being said, there are some risks to be aware of. If improperly disposed of, lithium-ion batteries can be harmful to humans and the environment. If you purchase an electric bike, this is something to be aware of and something that must be respected.

We also can’t deny that there have been some stories of electric bikes and shops catching fire due to exploding batteries. Although rather rare, this is an unfortunate reality. Whether you’re a consumer or business owner, you have to be knowledgeable of the conditions surrounding this threat. So, what can you do to ensure the lowest possibility of a battery fire?

How To Prevent E-Bike Battery Fires

An electric bike battery catching fire is a rare occurrence and is not the typical experience for any consumer. However, the risk is real, and being informed is the first step to avoiding the hazard. So, how can you prevent this?

Never Leave a Battery Charging Unattended or Overcharge It

Electric bicycle in a garage

Many of the stories you hear of shops catching fire are due to e-bike batteries being left charging unattended. You often hear about how leaving your battery charging overnight can be bad for its lifespan, and this potential damage is true, but charging a battery overnight or unattended can cause the bigger issue of a fire risk. It’s recommended to not leave your battery charging unattended day or night.

Along with the previous tip, overcharging in general is also not recommended. Overcharging your e-bike battery not only affects its lifespan but can increase fire risk as well. Charging your e-bike battery to just 80% capacity or 90% is fine in most cases.

Don’t Store Your Battery Fully Charged, too Hot, or too Cold

Make sure you are properly storing your electric bike battery when it’s not in use, and don’t store it with the battery fully charged. Doing this is not only bad for the bike’s lifespan but can increase the odds of a fire. Store your battery at anywhere between 30% to 80% charge capacity.

Besides not leaving your battery fully charged when not in use, you should also consider the conditions under which you store your bike. Make sure your battery is in an optimal temperature when storing, between 32°F and 68°F, to ensure its performance and safety. Also, make sure you aren’t storing it near any flammables or in confined spaces either.

Purchase Batteries From a Trusted Source

Make sure you’re using a trusted vendor when purchasing and sourcing your e-bike batteries. Lower-quality brands and companies are more likely to take shortcuts with materials or construction. These shortcuts can increase the risk of malfunction and property damage.

Never Modify a Battery Yourself, or Use a Damaged Battery

One of the ways lithium-ion batteries can catch fire is through being dropped, punctured, or damaged. If any of these has happened to the battery, it’s best not to take the risk and you should probably just purchase a new one. Charging it and introducing more power can increase the risk of the battery combusting.

Unless you are professional and know exactly what you are doing, never try to modify a battery. Toying with a battery may be tempting and seem like a fun project but could be potentially life-threatening. Just leave that work to the experts.

Always Utilize The Best Safety Practices

Following these tips is sure to reduce the chances of your e-bike battery catching fire. It’s a reasonably low chance already, but the risk is there so it’s best to be cautious. Never modify your battery, properly store it, never leave your battery charging unattended, and don’t use damaged batteries. All these tips are crucial, but some are more important than others. Make sure to review them and take care of your e-bike battery properly


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We have two foldable e-bikes that we transport laying on their sides in the bed of our pick up truck. Is it safe to transport them this way? We use them for camping.