London firefighters called out to over 150 e-bike and e-scooter battery blazes in just over a year

A man rides an e-scooter on Oxford Street (Getty Images)
A man rides an e-scooter on Oxford Street (Getty Images)

Firefighters have been called to more than 150 fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters in London in a little over a year.

Most of the blazes involve cheaper, less regulated products bought online, which were charging when the fires started, according to the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

The fires are caused by the vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries overheating and catching fire.

Figures obtained by the Standard reveal that the LFB was called to 116 fires involving the vehicles last year. In total there were 87 fires related to e-bikes and 29 caused by e-scooters.

It marks a 38 per cent increase on the 72 e-bike and e-scooter fires reported in 2021.

In 2023, firefighters have attended 30 fires caused by e-bikes and 6 blazes linked to e-scooters.

Fire chiefs have advised people to keep these items in a safe location, such as a shed or garage, and avoid charging them overnight before going to sleep.

A spokesperson for the LFB said: “It’s incredibly concerning we are continuing to see a rise in incidents involving e-bikes and e-scooters.

“When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity and because the fires develop so rapidly the situation can quickly become incredibly serious.

“Lithium batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used and there is a significant risk posed by e-bikes and scooters which have been converted.

"We are predominantly seeing fires in ones which have been purchased from online marketplaces and batteries which have been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.

“Our advice is to try and store and charge these items in a safe location if possible, such as in a shed or garage, and if they have to be stored inside, make sure there is smoke detection fitted and your means of escape is not obstructed.

“However, we know this won’t be possible for everyone, so if you are charging them indoors, please follow our advice on safe charging and ensure everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire.

“We would also suggest people try not to charge them when they are asleep, so that if there is an issue they can react quickly.”

Earlier this month, a man had to be rescued by firefighters after a faulty battery caused a blaze to break out in a flat on Deptford High Street in Lewisham.

Most of two flats on the first and second floors of the building were damaged. Firefighters used a nine-metre ladder to rescue the man from a second-floor window. A further four people left the property before the Brigade arrived. There were no reports of any injuries.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a fault with an e-bike that was on charge.