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June 13, 2023

What You Should Know About E-Bike Battery Certification

By: Ash Lovell, Ph.D., electric bicycle policy and campaign director

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PeopleForBikes’ new Certification Terminology guidelines help manufacturers better understand the nuances associated with testing standards and what is currently required.

Electric bicycles have been in the news a lot lately, and not always in a positive light. New York City recently experienced a number of fires due to low quality batteries, improper charging practices, and a lack of education on safe battery handling and storage. 

Many PeopleForBikes members already make high quality and rigorously tested and certified bicycles and e-bikes. While, to our knowledge, there have been no fires associated with e-bikes made by PeopleForBikes members, as the U.S. bicycle industry’s trade association, we are engaged at all levels of government to help tackle this issue because we believe finding a solution to the complex problem of battery safety is paramount to the health of the industry as a whole. 

PeopleForBikes created Certification Terminology guidelines to help manufacturers better understand the nuances associated with testing standards and what is currently required. Along with these guidelines, you will also find a list of accredited testing laboratories that are capable of testing products to the appropriate standards (UL 2849 and UL 2271).

At the federal level, PeopleForBikes is working with members of Congress to promote the regulation of electric bicycles according to national and international standards — including UL 2849 and the European standard, EN 15194. We are also in communication with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about improved bicycle-related regulations and lithium ion battery standards for all e-mobility batteries. In the aftermath of the CPSC’s December 19 letter on battery safety, we are also advocating for a longer compliance runway for companies who produce safe, tested products that are not yet certified to UL 2849.

These issues are best solved at the national level, giving manufacturers clear and consistent guidelines for products and certifications. However, some states have been exploring their own response to this issue. PeopleForBikes is engaging with lawmakers in New York state to advocate for reasonable and effective battery regulations. The lion’s share of the concerns related to lithium ion batteries are coming from New York City. There, low-cost and low-quality e-mopeds, e-scooters, and e-bikes are used by more than 65,000 delivery workers to deliver goods to New Yorkers. PeopleForBikes will continue working with the Mayor’s office, the New York City Council, the FDNY, local retailers, and advocacy organizations to craft smart, safe, and reasonable legislation on lithium ion batteries. 

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