• Press Release

May 7, 2024

New Report: How E-Bike Awareness Gaps and Behavior Increase Battery Fire Risks


Washington, D.C. - Today, UL Standards & Engagement released a report that reveals e-bike and e-scooter owners’ alarming misunderstanding of the lithium-ion batteries that power their devices and the fire threat that they pose. Further, the report identified a series of dangerous practices, from unsafe charging habits to blocking exit paths in the event of a fire.

“The massive growth of the e-bike and e-scooter market has not been matched by consumer safety education on these devices,” said Sayon Deb, director of primary insights at UL Standards & Engagement. “What our research shows is that there are clear opportunities to reduce the risk — and to do that some dangerous misconceptions and misunderstandings must change.” 

The e-mobility market has grown exponentially. U.S. e-bike sales leaped by 269% between 2019 and 2022, and riders took an estimated 20 million e-bike share and 57 million e-scooter share trips in 2022. Unfortunately, the number of fires caused by the lithium-ion batteries that power these devices are also growing. The New York City Fire Department reported a dramatic rise in such fires in 2023, with 268 incidents leading to 150 injuries and 18 deaths. San Francisco tells a similar story, with 215 battery fires documented since e-bikes and e-scooters gained popularity there in 2017. As more Americans choose to ride, the safety awareness deficit needs to be understood and reduced.

Key findings in the report include: 

  1. E-mobility devices are critical to the work lives of urban residents. 54% of owners purchased e-bikes or e-scooters for work, and 72% of them have used it for delivery gigs in the past 12 months. Riders are mostly in urban areas (45%) and are more likely to be low (39%) or middle income (32%).   
  2. There is little awareness of the power source or its risk. The majority of owners of these devices are unaware that their e-bike (53%) or e-scooter (54%) is powered by a lithium-ion battery. Not understanding the power source — and consequently the risks it carries — leads to riders having low concerns about the safety of their device. 
  3. The lack of awareness is translating to behaviors that increase fire risk. The way users charge their e-bikes and e-scooters increases the hazard of overheating batteries and potential fire risk. Nearly half of e-bike riders (49%) who charge at home are blocking their home’s fire exits, a contributing factor in several cases where death occurred. More than half (53%) leave their e-bikes or e-scooters plugged in even after reaching full charge. Further, e-mobility users report routinely charging either overnight (41%) or unattended while away from home (26%).
  4. Battery replacement practices introduce concerning safety variables. Nearly half of e-bike owners (48%) have replaced their old e-bike battery: 11% did so because their old battery caught on fire; 16% because the old battery was damaged from a crash or collision; 24% because old battery was overheating; and 28% because they noticed swelling or bulging on the old battery.

While the vast majority of U.S. consumers are unfamiliar with safety standards for e-bikes and e-scooters (93%), many e-mobility manufacturers are conforming to safety standards. Additionally, cities like New York, San Francisco, Denver, and Washington, D.C. have taken steps to incent or even mandate safety standards. 

UL Standards & Engagement has more than 80 standards developed in their portfolio that address lithium-ion battery risks, offering a layer of protection for consumers. For e-bikes and scooters, ULSE has three standards that cover the devices and the batteries that power those devices: UL 2849, the standard for e-bikes; UL 2272, for personal e-mobility devices; and UL 2271, the standard for lithium-ion batteries in e-mobility devices. These standards are designed to protect against thermal runaway and the risk of devastating fires.

Lime, the largest shared e-mobility company in the world, operating in more than 280 cities in nearly 30 countries, certifies its entire fleet and the more than half-million batteries that power it to standards developed by UL Standards & Engagement.  

“Our number one priority is the safety of our riders,” said Shari Shapiro, head of global policy at Lime. “This commitment to safety is why it's critical that we test our proprietary battery design against the most rigorous safety standards. We appreciate UL Standards & Engagement's proactive efforts to support greater standardization around lithium-ion battery safety, as this can serve as a foundation for continuing the growth in options for urban mobility around the world."

“Lime ensuring its fleet is certified to safety standards emphasizes how critical our standards are to mitigating the fire risks of e-mobility devices and their batteries,” said Dr. George Borlase, vice president of standards development for UL Standards & Engagement. “Cities across the country are recognizing the value of standards in protecting their citizens and passing laws and creating incentive programs that incorporate standards. And with many manufacturers choosing to have their products meet the requirements in these critical safety standards, it does not require a law for consumers to have a safer choice.”  

This report comes on the heels of UL Standards & Engagement’s April 19 update of UL 2272, the Standard for Electrical Systems for Personal E-Mobility Devices, which strengthens the testing requirements for battery packs and chargers, evaluation of gaskets and seals, flammability of nonmetallic materials, and operating temperatures.

Read the full report here.

For more resources on e-mobility safety, visit https://ulse.org/ul-standards-engagement/e-mobility.



The results are taken from two separate ULSE Insights surveys, each consisting of responses from 2,200+ U.S. adults conducted January 8-12, 2024, and April 12-21, 2024. E-micromobility owners were oversampled in order to provide more precise estimates of their opinions and experiences. Responses for this group are weighted back to reflect their correct proportions in the overall population All studies were designed and formulated by UL Standards & Engagement. Surveys were administered online by BV Insights. The margin of sampling error at 95% confidence for aggregate results is +/- 2.2%. Full methodology is available in the report here.  

About ULSE

UL Standards & Engagement is a nonprofit organization that translates safety science into action through standards development, partnerships and advocacy. Since 1903, we have developed nearly 1,700 standards and guidance documents for products ranging from fire doors to autonomous vehicles. ULSE enables innovation and grows trust by convening experts and informing policymakers and regulators as we work toward a safer, more secure and sustainable future. Visit ulse.org for more information.


Catie Talenti
UL Standards & Engagement
Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
P: (607) 742-8766