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July 26, 2023

Don’t Let E-Bikes, Scooters Overcharge in Your Home

Burned SF Building

San Franciscans need to be super diligent about where and how long they store and charge e-bikes and scooters in their garages or homes. The lithium-ion battery packs in these vehicles can short circuit, overheat and go on fire without warning if left to overcharge, putting buildings at a high fire risk.

Lithium-ion batteries have caused more than 20 fires in the city to date in 2023, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and the number of these fires has increased each year since 2018. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are extremely difficult to extinguish and can spread rapidly.

I think it would be a sound idea to update tenant leases and condo CC&Rs to include a provision that prohibits people from charging scooters or e-bikes for several hours, such as leaving these vehicles plugged in overnight or all day. It’s likely that the city will put legal restrictions on where and how lithium-ion-powered devices can be stored and charged in the near future. The risks are just too high, and the number of fires continues to rise. In the meantime, it’ll be up to residents to do their part not to cause more fires and act responsibly where lithium-ion battery vehicles are concerned.

[Photo courtesy San Francisco Chronicle and SF Fire Department]

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