Will battery fires derail electric micromobility?

KULR CEO argues more needs to be done to address lithium-ion battery fires in e-scooters and e-bikes. By Megan Lampinen

Battery fires can happen in all sorts of electrified transport, from heavy trucks and passenger cars to e-bikes and scooters. With growing urbanisation and cities pushing to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, the latter category has recently come under the safety spotlight.

New York City alone has seen multiple fires in e-bikes and e-scooters over the past few months, and with terrible consequences; one fire alone burned down two buildings. The Netherlands is a huge region for biking, with an average of 1.3 bikes per person. Around 25% of these are e-bikes. Its well-established biking infrastructure includes huge parking lots for bikes at hubs like train stations, which can store thousands of bikes tightly packed next to each other. That may be convenient for commuters, but it's a dangerous ground for fires. Recent data from the National Lab of Netherlands Energy Storage shows there is one e-bike battery fire on average every day, and one structure burnt down every week, in the Netherlands.

Safety concerns have prompted some regions, including London and parts of Scotland, to ban e-scooters on public transport. This sort of publicity could threaten the viability of these increasingly important urban mobility options. Enter KULR Technology. The California-based company is developing thermal-management technologies for a number of applications, including micromobility solutions. KULR Chief Executive Michael Mo believes its safety contribution to lithium-ion batteries could prove pivotal to the long-term electrification of mobility.

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