Electric vehicles and motorized micromobility devices (e-bikes and e-scooters) are more popular than ever, but the potential for fire-related hazards associated with the lithium-ion batteries that power these forms of transport is real and often underestimated.
The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which raises awareness of potential home electrical hazards, the importance of electrical fire safety, and the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers, each May. This year’s theme, “Electrification: E-Mobility,” emphasizes safety when using and maintaining different types of transit powered by electricity such as cars, buses, trucks, e-bikes and e-scooters.
According to a recent report by ERM, a global pure-play sustainability consultancy group, automakers and battery manufacturers worldwide will spend more than $626 billion through 2030 to develop new electric cars, passenger trucks, freight trucks, and buses. The micromobility market is also expected to grow from $40 billion today to $215 billion by 2030, as stated by Allied Marketing Research. The growth in both production and use of electric cars, e-bikes, and e-scooters makes the work of educating people about safe practices more important now than ever before.
“While many people are buying electric vehicles and using e-bikes and e-scooters as a means of alternative transportation for work and recreational activities, what many consumers may not know is that the batteries that power them pose a major fire risk if they are not charged or stored properly,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “People who operate these vehicles and devices must continue to learn about the facts involved in safe usage, charging, and storage.”
During Electrical Safety Month, NFPA and ESFI are providing free safety information and resources for residents to help reduce the risk of injury and damage to property when storing and charging lithium-ion batteries used in e-bikes and e-scooters, and electric vehicles. Firefighters and other first responders are encouraged to use these materials in their public outreach efforts.
Resources for electric vehicle owners:
• Understanding Electric Vehicles tip sheet
• Electric Vehicles: Charging Options and Safety tip sheet
Resources for e-bike and e-scooter owners:
• E-Bike and E-Scooter tip sheet
• Lithium-Ion Battery Safety tip sheet
• Safety with E-Bikes and E-Scooters webpage
NFPA also provides important information, materials, and trainings for firefighters and first responders to learn how to safely deal with emergency situations involving alternative fuel passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, and commercial fleet vehicles.
Resources for first responders:
• Training, response guides, report, and videos for first responders and emergency personnel related to fires involving alternative fuel vehicles (AFV)
• Electric and hybrid vehicle quick reference card
Additional e-bike and e-scooter resources for first responders:
• NFPA Podcast: E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety
• NFPA Journal article, Fall 2022 issue: Full Throttle
In 2020, NFPA introduced Faces of Fire/Electrical, a video awareness campaign focused on electrical hazards and created in collaboration with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. The series reminds everyone about the importance of taking action – at home and in the workplace – to help stop electrical incidents from happening. The videos and related resources such as fact sheets, tip sheets, and reports can be found at nfpa.org/facesoffire.
For more tips and resources including infographics, fact sheets, videos, and podcasts related to electrical fire safety, visit the NFPA electrical safety webpage.