Electric scooters could ‘catch fire or explode’ if not used properly
Currently, electric scooters are legal to own in the UK, but they can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission. It is effectively illegal to use them on public roads, on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.
Electric scooters are currently classed as “powered transporters” by the Government and fall under the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles.
This means it’s illegal to use them on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas.
Despite this, electric scooters have grown massively in popularity, with people of all ages making use of the portable vehicles.
However, experts are warning that motorists may see “catastrophic” results if they do not take care of them properly.
Overcharging the vehicle can lead to battery degradation, similar to how a mobile phone slowly loses its battery efficiency if it gets left on charge for long periods of time.
Anyone with an electric scooter or electric bike is being advised to follow the manufacturers’ instructions and unplug the vehicle immediately after it’s finished charging.
People should only charge these vehicles when they are awake and alert, not overnight, as in the event of a fire, they can react appropriately.
Paula Napolitano, eWaste expert at Wisetek said that overcharging was probably the biggest danger when it comes to electric scooters and bikes.
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She added: “These lithium-ion batteries have a limited number of charge cycles, and overcharging like this can cause the battery to lose its ability to hold a proper charge.
“The scary information here is that the batteries used in e-scooters can experience something called ‘thermal runaway’.
“This is a highly dangerous chain reaction of overheating that can cause the battery to catch fire or explode.
“Overcharging directly increases the risk of thermal runaway by causing the battery to become overheated and unstable.”
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Anyone with their own electric scooter should always use the charger that was supplied with the device, and any replacements should be from the manufacturer.
Avoid covering the charger or battery pack when charging as this can quickly lead to overheating and subsequently, fire.
Any electric scooters or bikes should not be charged or stored near flammable or combustible elements as this can increase the chances of fire.
Paula Napolitano continued, saying: “In the past 12 to 18 months e-scooters and e-bikes have exploded in popularity.
“Most of these vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are used in a wide range of household products – but they can be potentially fatal.
“Lithium-ion batteries are the primary power source for most of the e-scooters and e-bikes we see around our cities today, but if they are not properly stored and treated, they can fail catastrophically, causing small explosions which can then lead to fires.”
Electric scooter rental trials have been underway in a number of UK cities since 2020, with the devices being legal in public.
Local councils have been working with rental providers to test the viability of electric scooters as a safe, effective and sustainable mode of transport.
There are plans for the Government to implement law changes to legalise the vehicles and expand the trial periods in more cities around the country.
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