Consumer Product Safety Commission issues warning about particular e-bike batteries

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Consumer Product Safety Commission issues warning about particular e-bike batteries
Consumer Product Safety Commission issues warning about particular e-bike batteries

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Federal safety officials have an urgent warning about certain e-bike batteries after more than a dozen reports of batteries overheating, some causing fires and substantial property damage.

This is a warning instead of a recall because, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the manufacturer is refusing to take this product off store shelves.

E-bike battery fires are extremely dangerous and difficult to put out. The batteries can catch fire after they have overheated.

"We want to make sure that consumers do not use these batteries anymore," said Carla Coolman of the CPSC.

Safety officials are urgently warning the public about the safety risks posed by a certain e-bike battery made by a Chinese company.

They are the Unit Pack Power, or UPP, lithium-ion battery model number U004 or U004-1 sold to convert pedal bicycles into e-bikes.

"It's imperative that consumers stop using these even if you don't observe any problems with yours," said Gabe Knight of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports says the Chinese-made UPP battery does not meet the voluntary UL standard.

"This manufacturer has chosen not to meet the voluntary standards. They are not participating in a recall in coordination with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. So in lieu of that, the Commission is issuing a warning," said Knight.

Amazon, Walmart, and other online retailers have been selling these batteries since 2018.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says 13 people in the U.S. have reported that the battery overheated and seven have reported fire and substantial property damage.

"It has caused burns. It has caused property damage, so immediately stop using it. Detach it from your bike and contact your local recycling center on how to properly dispose of it," said Coolman.

Potentially hazardous batteries must be handled extra carefully. Do not put them in the regular trash or even a used battery recycling box found at retail and home improvement stores.

"They should definitely dispose of them according to local laws," said Coolman.

The CPSC is also warning people not to charge lithium-ion batteries overnight, but instead to always charge them when they are present in case there's an emergency.

There are basic bike standards that apply to e-bikes, but no federal standards for the electrical systems on e-bikes, meaning the charging port, cables, batteries, etcetera.