New York City Council Holds Hearing About Dangers of E-Batteries

By Hamodia Staff

E-bikes and e-scooter charging. (Vmenkov)

NEW YORK — The New York City Council held a hearing om Monday, November 14, where it heard from FDNY officials about a rash of fires, some of them fatal, caused by overheated lithium-ion batteries which are used in e-bikes and scooters.

This year, there have been 191 such fires, Spectrum1 reported Chief Thomas Currao, the FDNY’s acting chief of fire prevention, as testifying at the hearing. These batteries can catch fire and explode when not used properly, and the City Council proposed legislation to deal with the dangers involved.

The council wants to balance safety with the need to keep the bikes and scooters affordable for delivery workers known as “deliveristas,” who rely on them for their work.

“I am very cognizant of the need to have safety, and I’m very cognizant that the delivery workers need to work,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer. “There’s a conundrum here.”

Batteries used with improper charging cables, or those overused or improperly refurbished, are in danger of overheating and exploding, Chief Currao said.

Current fire code in the city limits the number allowed in a single residence to five. However, without the manpower to enforce the rule, there may be people charging numerous batteries for deliveristas or others.

Several proposals were put forth, including requiring certification of refurbished batteries, an annual report of battery fires, and increasing education about safety and risks with e-batteries. FDNY officials were generally in support of these proposals.

Lacking a network of charging stations, deliveristas often pay to have their batteries charged, whether in a private residence or in a bodega.

The Council did not set a date for a vote on the proposed legislation. 

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!