Velojournal 2017/02/09

Red-hot

A fire in a bicycle shop in the German city of Hanover on February 7, caused a large-scale operation of the fire department. According to media reports, a fire broke out all of a sudden in a shop specialized in e-bikes and electric vehicles. Due to the strong formation of smoke an adjacent car park had to be evacuated.

Die Branche akku-sicher machen_1

According to the current state of knowledge, an e-bike battery had suddenly caught fire after charging in the shop. The fire caused a loss at an amount of more than half a million Swiss francs. In the German media the discussion flared up on the issue of how dangerous the power storages of electric bicycles were.

Now, the publicly appointed and sworn in expert, Dirk Zedler, warns of marking down e-bikes as dangerous in general. “Blanket speculations on the safety of batteries as a consequence of this event of loss alone are not reasonable”, says Zedler. For more than 20 years now the engineer has been operating a recognised testing institute for bicycles and bicycle technology.

In Zedler’s opinion and on the basis of his experience it is not appropriate to measure all e-bike batteries by the same yardstick. Today, renowned manufacturers would work hard to avoid any malfunction of their products. According to Zedler, the bicycle shop in question would offer conversion kits, batteries from little known suppliers and tuning kits on their website. With some of these products the statutory reference values for the legal operation of e-bikes and further vehicles on public roads are most probably ignored.

Zedler’s judgement, however, is also based on presumptions. The actual cause of fire will remain unclear until the official accident investigations to establish the causes of the loss will have been made available by the fire department and the police.

Author: Fabian Baumann

Read the entire article here.

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