Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

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Parkinglotracer
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Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

A firefighter buddy told me that they are experiencing a lot of calls to respond to fires in high rises where residents have taken their electric bikes up to their residence so they don’t get stolen - then the bike battery catches fire and a fire results. And the fires are tough to put out. Where are folks storing their electric bikes? What are you locking them up with if you don’t take them inside?
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SmileyFace
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by SmileyFace »

How would you charge the battery if they are locked up outside? That's when the fires occur - an average of 4 such fires a week in NYC. Sorry I don't have any suggestions (use proper original batteries and charger is one thing I have read - but any battery could potentially get damaged and leak).

https://www.npr.org/2022/10/30/11302390 ... es-fatally
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Parkinglotracer
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Thanks for the article - maybe there will be technology that monitors temps while charging to cut down the fire risk … maybe that already exists.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by WhyNotUs »

This thread is like a Fox chyron.

For 99% of ebike riders who buy a decent ebike and use the provided battery this should not be a big consideration. There are some very low end bikes that do not use battery and motor combinations from quality providers and people buy poor quality replacement batteries that should take extra care.
If you are a ebike delivery person and mix and match batteries with drive systems on a disposable ebikes then you need to take extra caution and at least buy a battery tender.

The stats in the article include escooters and the same prescription to buying something of established quality.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by onourway »

WhyNotUs wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:20 am This thread is like a Fox chyron.

For 99% of ebike riders who buy a decent ebike and use the provided battery this should not be a big consideration. There are some very low end bikes that do not use battery and motor combinations from quality providers and people buy poor quality replacement batteries that should take extra care.
If you are a ebike delivery person and mix and match batteries with drive systems on a disposable ebikes then you need to take extra caution and at least buy a battery tender.

The stats in the article include escooters and the same prescription to buying something of established quality.
I'd challenge that 99% figure. The vast majority of ebikes I see are no-name imports and/or conversions. There is very little QC or government oversight that goes into these, while a typical eBike battery is 10-20x more energy dense than a laptop battery - which have been known to do serious damage on their own.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by SmileyFace »

WhyNotUs wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:20 am This thread is like a Fox chyron.

For 99% of ebike riders who buy a decent ebike and use the provided battery this should not be a big consideration.
I did some searches and couldn't find this 99% statistic. Unfortunately the article provides no detail into how many fires are poor quality or mismatched battery/chargers. If you have a link to the stat - please provide it? (Otherwise - your response is the actual "chyron" in this thread).
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by stoptothink »

SmileyFace wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:28 am
WhyNotUs wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:20 am This thread is like a Fox chyron.

For 99% of ebike riders who buy a decent ebike and use the provided battery this should not be a big consideration.
I did some searches and couldn't find this 99% statistic. Unfortunately the article provides no detail into how many fires are poor quality or mismatched battery/chargers. If you have a link to the stat - please provide it? (Otherwise - your response is the actual "chyron" in this thread).
If you go on the reddit forum https://www.reddit.com/r/ebikes/, some of the posters detail all of these fires. Not that it is any sort of scientific analysis, but I don't recall one discussed where there wasn't "extenuating circumstances" - ie. someone was illegally running an e-bike shop out of their apartment and had multiple batteries charging at all times, it was a really old building with electrical not up to code, use of incompatible batteries and chargers, etc. This really is a matter of "don't be an idiot".
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by bloom2708 »

"State of fear" story.

Each apartment probably has a stove and a curling iron as well. :wink:
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Parkinglotracer
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:02 am "State of fear" story.

Each apartment probably has a stove and a curling iron as well. :wink:
The guy that told me about the problem is a fire chief in our town and his two sons are fire fighters too … he said his latest fire where his team lowered an elderly lady down the hook and ladder was a high rise fire caused by such … he isn’t the kind of guy that is out of touch with reality but I don’t know what the stats are actually telling us about e bike battery fires vs say grease fires. I have seen a few articles about E vehicles catching fire so maybe it’s a “hot” topic of the day.

My UPS and Fed Ex pilot buddies have said not having confidence in knowing exactly what batteries are being shipped in the cargo hold of their jets and the risk of fire airborne is one of their highest safety concerns.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
anonenigma
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by anonenigma »

There was a piece on NBC Nightly News a few days ago. My takeaway is that it wouldn't be wise to charge the battery while asleep or away from home.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Rdytoretire »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:02 am "State of fear" story.

Each apartment probably has a stove and a curling iron as well. :wink:
What about that 15-30 gallons of flammable gasoline everyone is storing in their garage.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by bloom2708 »

Rdytoretire wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:55 am
bloom2708 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:02 am "State of fear" story.

Each apartment probably has a stove and a curling iron as well. :wink:
What about that 15-30 gallons of flammable gasoline everyone is storing in their garage.
Yes. Many examples. [Off-topic comments removed - moderator ClaycordJCA.]
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by stoptothink »

bloom2708 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:09 pm
Rdytoretire wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:55 am
bloom2708 wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:02 am "State of fear" story.

Each apartment probably has a stove and a curling iron as well. :wink:
What about that 15-30 gallons of flammable gasoline everyone is storing in their garage.
Yes. Many examples. [Off-topic comments removed - moderator ClaycordJCA.]
I call it "fear porn". Maybe I am just more aware of "mainstream media" than I ever have been, but it sure seems worse than I ever remember it.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by SmileyFace »

Someone posted a few years back a NYT article about a safety deposit theft using it to say "Don't use safety deposit boxes as they aren't really safe". That was fear mongering as problems with bank vaults are extremely rare.
Someone else posted a few years ago stating "I won't freeze my credit - ID theft is rare and it's too cumbersome to unfreeze for each credit card application I make". This is being unnecessarily reckless in my opinion.
I believe e-bike fires are somewhere in between - not just fear mongering (like the safety deposit thing - in this case the stats are real so ignoring the risk is not prudent) - but perhaps it's also not as extreme a risk that you need to go out and rent a separate storage unit to charge your e-bike in either. The OPs questions seemed valid to me.
Also - Comparing a charging Lithium battery to stored gasoline is not really a valid comparison. With a charging battery you have both the fuel for a fire along with the spark to start it. With gasoline you only have the fuel.
Last edited by SmileyFace on Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
alex_686
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by alex_686 »

Here might be a answer. I have seen these suggested but I have zero experience with it. Looks interesting but I don’t know if they will do the trick.

https://smile.amazon.com/FLASLD-Lipo-Ba ... 158&sr=8-3
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by bob60014 »

Must be a NYC thing. Around here there hasn't been any reporting of this type of fire. Being so unique, one would think the local media would be all over it.
TravelGeek
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by TravelGeek »

There are a couple of eBike stores in my town, in larger buildings. I wonder if their insurance premium is significantly different from other tenants' insurance. If there was a measurably higher risk, the insurance companies would probably be aware of it.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by TravelGeek »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:26 am A firefighter buddy told me that they are experiencing a lot of calls to respond to fires in high rises where residents have taken their electric bikes up to their residence so they don’t get stolen - then the bike battery catches fire and a fire results. And the fires are tough to put out. Where are folks storing their electric bikes? What are you locking them up with if you don’t take them inside?
I don't have an electric bike yet, but I would store it in my garage next to my EV.
Parkinglotracer wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:09 am
The guy that told me about the problem is a fire chief in our town and his two sons are fire fighters too … he said his latest fire where his team lowered an elderly lady down the hook and ladder was a high rise fire caused by such …
How big is your town? My town has a ton of people with eBikes (I would think the vast majority of bikes I see on the streets are now eBikes), but I don't recall a single report of eBike-triggered fires on the local news. I do recall two fires over the course of the last year from oil-soaked rags "spontaneously" catching on fire in a garage or shed. Unless your town is much bigger than mine, I don't understand why your town is seeing "a lot of calls" for fires in high rises.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Atilla »

If at all possible I would never leave an electric bike outside overnight.

Paranoid apartment-dwelling types I would suggest charge their bike battery with it in the kitchen sink (or bath tub), or in a cold oven with the hood fan running.

I charge all our bike batteries in the attached garage right below me next to 40 gallons of gas kept in 3 different vehicles. :beer
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by adestefan »

stoptothink wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:06 pm
I call it "fear porn". Maybe I am just more aware of "mainstream media" than I ever have been, but it sure seems worse than I ever remember it.
This has happened forever. I remember the late summer of 2021 was all about beaches were the most unsafe place in the world due to shark attacks. That storyline was quickly replaced.

If it bleeds it leads.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by SmileyFace »

adestefan wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:47 am
stoptothink wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:06 pm
I call it "fear porn". Maybe I am just more aware of "mainstream media" than I ever have been, but it sure seems worse than I ever remember it.
This has happened forever. I remember the late summer of 2021 was all about beaches were the most unsafe place in the world due to shark attacks. That storyline was quickly replaced.

If it bleeds it leads.
Shark attacks are another bad comparison which does nothing to help the OP. Shark attacks are a few a year - ebike fires are a few a week in NYC alone.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by runninginvestor »

Not to derail, but I wonder how/if insurance would cover this. I vaguely recall a couple city leases of mine that didn't allow storing bikes inside the apartment since they had a dedicated bike area.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by quantAndHold »

adestefan wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:47 am
stoptothink wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:06 pm
I call it "fear porn". Maybe I am just more aware of "mainstream media" than I ever have been, but it sure seems worse than I ever remember it.
This has happened forever. I remember the late summer of 2021 was all about beaches were the most unsafe place in the world due to shark attacks. That storyline was quickly replaced.

If it bleeds it leads.
The general rule of thumb is if you heard about it on the news, it’s rare enough that it’s never going to happen to you.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by TLC1957 »

See NFPA , National Fire Protection Association, the organization that writes National fire and building codes in the USA take on the hazard. Yes it is a huge concern as well as electric car fires, extremely difficult to extinguish. My FD does not to fight electric car fires if not exposing buildings or people, just let it burn!

https://www.nfpa.org/ebikes
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by quantAndHold »

runninginvestor wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 8:51 am Not to derail, but I wonder how/if insurance would cover this. I vaguely recall a couple city leases of mine that didn't allow storing bikes inside the apartment since they had a dedicated bike area.
You’d have to check your insurance policy, but I doubt renters/homeowners insurance is specifically calling out fires due to either lithium batteries or bicycles.

And with e-bikes, your landlord may require you to store the bike in the bike cage, but you’ll still bring the battery into your apartment to charge.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by rob »

This is blown out just to get a bite on a headline but it will become more of an issue... I don't think a gas stove is a fair compare though. These high capacity lithium batteries burn fiercely and are harder to put out and they are able to self combust when treated incorrectly... Not just an ebike thing - how many electric cars are kicking around and that will increase over time.

I have an ebike and just charge it thru a timer so that it's not always charging - a backup for the auto off on the charger itself. I also never let it run empty. Obviously using the charger that came with it is common sense.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

I'll add a real-life occurrence in our city. A couple owned a beach-rental shop and added electric bikes to their offerings. One night, the bikes caught fire and burned not only the shop but the apartment upstairs where the family that owned the business lived. As a result of that fire, they were homeless and with no business. And, it seemed that this was the last nail in the coffin since the young husband/father had just died a couple of months earlier.
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Parkinglotracer
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

adestefan wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:47 am
stoptothink wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:06 pm
I call it "fear porn". Maybe I am just more aware of "mainstream media" than I ever have been, but it sure seems worse than I ever remember it.
This has happened forever. I remember the late summer of 2021 was all about beaches were the most unsafe place in the world due to shark attacks. That storyline was quickly replaced.

If it bleeds it leads.
Yes often times people are unable to understand the real risk something poses to them. If I lived above an E bike shop that had a hundred daily rentals charging every night I’d consider moving. If I was a captain of a fed ex 777 flying the China - Memphis route 8 times a month I’d be worried what cheap lithium batteries are among the junk in my cargo hold.

Of course to cover one’s blind spots in risk assessment and war planning I always think what have I overlooked? And remember just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean someone is not out to get you. Lol.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by hunoraut »

Remember that batteries generally dont spontaneously combust when dormant

Its the active charging process that increases the risk. If the charger is poor quality, or the overcharge protection mechanism is shoddy, etc, is really when the accidents occur.

If you are really concerned, just remove the battery and store them in a battery pouch which helps contain any event that may occur. These are typically sold for large li-ion packs used in hobbies like remote controlled toys.
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Re: Storing electric Bikes in a high rise - fire risk?

Post by twh »

Don't buy no-name products that also include lithium ion batteries.
Don't buy no-name replacement lithium ion batteries - including off Amazon and eBay.
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