As electric bikes, scooters, and other consumer and commercial products come equipped with lithium-ion batteries, the risk of fires due to manufacturing defects and overheating has increased dramatically. According to the New York City Fire Department, there have been over 400 fires caused by these batteries in the past four years, with over 300 people injured and 12 people killed. In response to the crisis, New York City lawmakers are pushing for federal legislation to regulate safety standards for lithium-ion batteries and exploring solutions to mitigate the risks.
Councilman Lincoln Restler expressed the need for more secure stations for charging the batteries, as many people are currently charging them in buildings, apartments or houses. “The more secure stations we have, people will no longer charge batteries in buildings, apartments or houses. We definitely need to improve logistics and where to put them,” Restler said.
Last week, two bills were presented by other councilors to try to prevent these types of fires. Councilor Keith Powers, a proponent of the two bills, is urging for quick action. “We are in an absolute crisis, so we need to move fast so these bills can save lives,” Powers said.
The first bill would create a program to provide new, certified batteries at low or no cost, especially for workers who use electric bicycles or scooters. In the face of the danger posed by the malfunctioning batteries, New York Democrats are pushing for immediate action to ensure the safety of citizens. With the proposed bills, they hope to make sure that the necessary measures are taken to protect people from the potential hazards posed by lithium-ion batteries.