Reports about lithium battery fires are plenty but how common are they? How to choose the correct battery and charger for your delivery ebike?

May 29, 2023
How to choose the correct battery and charger - Keego Mobility

Electric vehicles have gained people’s support in the last few years, from daily commuting to deliveries, more and more people choose to use ebikes, e-mopeds and even electric cars and heavy trucks. As lithium batteries can store a lot of power in a small package, most electric vehicles use lithium batteries. However, as lithium batteries become more common, reports about fires caused by the batteries also grow dramatically. But don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater! The fact is that combustion engine fires actually happen much more often than in electric vehicles, we are just so used to that old exploding technology it does not make the news anymore.

Combustion engine cars catch fire more than electric cars. - Keego Mobility

Combustion engine cars catch fire more than electric cars. / Source: RTL Today

That being said, prevention is better than a cure. So let’s take a look at how to choose safe batteries and chargers to prevent accidents from happening!

What is safety certification?

When it comes to choosing “safe” batteries and chargers, it may sound simple, but what does “safe” actually mean? As a customer you’re not able to test the safety by yourself, but you should choose products certified by a trusted third-party safety organization.

Customers should choose batteries and chargers certified to be safe - Keego Mobility
Customers should choose batteries and chargers certified to be safe - Keego Mobility

There are many batteries in the market that are made with less safe parts or technologies. From the outside it might be impossible to distinguish less safe batteries from higher quality ones. Even worse, with a low price, people are attracted to choose the less safe batteries.

So what actually is a “safe” battery? Batteries with a certificate have security measures. For example, they automatically stop charging when they are fully charged, which keep the battery from overcharging which might cause a fire. Or when the battery itself is overheated, it will automatically stop discharge or charging. With these measures, the probability of fire and explosion are much reduced.

The chargers also need to be tested and certified. Using chargers with the certification is a belt and suspenders for safety.

There are many third-party certifications, for example, UL or IEC. Underwriter Laboratories Inc., or UL for short, was established in 1894. It is one of the most authoritative product safety and certification organizations in the US, and also one of the biggest safety testing NGOs in the world. When importing products to the US, all of them are asked to pass third-party safety certification.

There are various certification organizations in the world, and CE is one of them. - Keego Mobility

In addition, the EU also regulates that products must pass CE certification which stands for conformité européenne (French for “European conformity”).

Since the CE certification is self-claimed, you can check if there are other certifications like the IEC 62133, which is a safety standard for secondary cells and batteries. IEC was established in 1906, in the UK, mainly working on international standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies, and is one of the most authoritative standards organizations in the world.

How to choose and use the batteries and chargers?

Choosing certified batteries and chargers means that they are built to be safe. Using them in the right ways is also very important. First, use the charger that comes with your battery and ebike. If you would like to buy a new charger by yourself, make sure to check out if it fits your battery and if it passed the safety test. Some may claim their charger can charge super fast, but if the voltage is larger than the limit your battery can handle, it may overheat or even explode.

Lithium batteries might turn into fire when overcharging. - Keego Mobility

When charging your battery, be aware of how hot it gets. It should stop charging before it gets too hot, but if it doesn’t, you should stop charging it yourself. For the same reason, it is not good to leave a battery in direct sunlight or other hot areas.

And if you’re not going to use your battery for a long time, make sure to remove the battery from the ebike, and place the battery inside the house in a cool, dry and dark place.

It is best if you do not use the battery until it goes to 0%. Switch to the second battery before it reaches zero.

For ebikes for delivery, using batteries that are designed for delivery is essential. Ebike batteries that are designed for delivery have a longer range, in order to last for a couriers’ whole day’s work.

Ebike battery designed for delivery is more reliable and suitable for couriers. - Keego Mobility
Ebike battery designed for delivery is more reliable and suitable for couriers. - Keego Mobility

Getir Darkstore in Düsseldorf, Germany. (Photo taken in 2023/2)

High capacity batteries designed for delivery might cost a bit more, but in the long term, these batteries are more reliable than normal batteries so they will last longer saving the couriers or fleets from spending extra money to replace batteries. Overall, choosing batteries designed for delivery is a smart investment, which can keep couriers productive and efficient on the road, and most importantly, safe.

How can fleets manage ebike batteries?

Fleets are per definition making bigger investments to outfit their whole delivery crew with vehicles. So picking safe and certified batteries and chargers is imperative.

The next question is how the batteries will be charged.

  • Will each courier bring the ebike home at the end of the day and charge their batteries by themselves?
  • Or will the courier be out and about all day and just charge the batteries overnight?
  • Or, in a hub and spoke model, the couriers will return to the hub several times over the day and exchange for fresh batteries to stay within the optimal charging state zone.
Keego delivery ebike batteries are certified and thus safe and fit couriers’ needs. - Keego Mobility

If all batteries will be charged at a hub or dark store, there are some key points to remember.

A cool, clean, and dry indoor area is much better than outdoors for the batteries. If you are charging a large number of batteries overnight, it might be smart to install a system that spaces out the charging of all batteries over the available time. In some countries, electricity contracts now encourage customers to keep their effect peaks as low as possible and to move usage to times during the night when the overall usage is at the lowest. So having a system that spaces out the charging would limit the effect peaks and thus save a fleet manager money.

Keego delivery ebike batteries are certified and thus safe and fit couriers’ needs. - Keego Mobility

Never put a cheap price before safety.

Recently, there have been a lot of news reports about ebike batteries catching fire. Some people even lost their lives in the accidents. While we’re enjoying the benefits of new technology, safety is always the priority. No matter if used for individual or delivery purposes, we should not buy batteries and chargers from unknown sources or without certifications just to save a few dollars.

Safety is always the priority. - Keego Mobility

By choosing batteries and chargers that have passed safety testing and using them in the right way, we can enjoy all the benefits of using electric vehicles in a safe way!

Follow Us & Get Updates.

Get in Touch with Us!

Is your company a courier, fleet manager, distributor, leasing company or reseller of ebikes and would like to add Keego to your line-up?
Send us a message to get in touch with us!