E-bike batteries may be dangerous

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E-bikes are eco-friendly and great for commuting, but the battery used may be dangerous.

“I’ve heard in Duluth there’s been a couple cases where someone bought a bike from a brand that wasn’t super trusted and probably wasn’t put together great,” said Ski Hut employee Jake Torch. “And it can cause their garage to go on to light on fire. The issue is, is because they left it plugged in and they left it unattended.” 

According to the U.S. Product Safety Commission, there were three fatalities and ten injuries involving e-bike fires or overheating incidents in just under two years across 39 states. Torch says the issue stems from buying bikes from unknown or untrusted brands.

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“The bikes that we carry at Ski Hut, one of the brands, Gazelle, they are Bosch batteries, and the motors are made by Bosch, which is a very trusted source, and we haven’t really had any issues,” Torch explained. “However, bikes that you may buy online, like from Amazon or something like that, you don’t always know where they’re coming from. And sometimes we’ve had cases of people plugging those in and they can start a fire and it can be pretty dangerous. So you want to make sure that you’re getting your battery from a trusted source and a trusted brand.”

Leaving your battery unattended may also be risky.

“If you do have an e-bike and you’re not fully sure where your battery came from or where the brand came from, you really want to make sure that you’re keeping an eye on it,” said Torch. “You’re not leaving it plugged in overnight and you’re always being attentive to what’s going on.”

Taking care of your battery is crucial not only for safety but also for overall performance.

“Being in Duluth here where we have really cold winters. It’s important that you keep it stored correctly and at room temperature. Batteries are going to be happiest between like 20 to 80% battery life,” said Torch. “And so if you keep them charged every month during the wintertime, you’re checking up on it. You plug it in, and you’re making sure that it is charged up so that the overall lifetime of the battery is going to last a lot longer, and it’s going to just work better.”