Friday, November 25, 2022

"E-bike batteries have caused 200 fires in New York: ‘Everyone’s scared’"

Well, don't park 'em near me.

Following on Sunday's "Paris mulls e-scooter ban in global test for micromobility industry" (different transportation platform, different problem).

From The Guardian, November 14:

Delivery workers grapple with danger after dozens injured in blazes that can spread quickly and suddenly

New York City delivery workers have to deal with an array of threats: speeding cars, volatile weather, armed robbers and app algorithms that can “deactivate” them if they don’t rush to customers quickly enough. Lately, workers have added another to the list – their electric bikes bursting into flames.

The powerful lithium ion batteries used in small electric vehicles are responsible for a growing epidemic of fires. This year, there have been about 200 fires and six deaths, according to the New York City fire department. This month, an e-bike fire inside a Manhattan high-rise apartment became an inferno that injured nearly 40 people and forced firefighters to evacuate residents using ropes.

These fires can spread quickly and suddenly: “We have a fully formed fire within a matter of seconds,” the chief fire marshal said at a news conference.

That’s become a daily concern for delivery workers such as Delores Solomon, a 64-year-old Brooklyn resident who has been working for Uber Eats for about two years to supplement her social security benefits. Solomon said she “lives in fear” that her vehicle might catch fire while it’s charging or even while she’s riding it. Last year, while delivering food on her mobility scooter, Solomon hit a pothole, causing the battery to fly out and hit the pavement, where it burst into flames. “It was like a big popping sound,” she told the Guardian. “It scared me – like, ‘Damn, if that would’ve happened on the bike, I would’ve been blown up.’”....