SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

E-bike catches fire after being left in the sun in West Valley

Jun 27, 2024, 5:00 AM

An e-bike by the road in Lone Peak. Officials in West Valley are warning against leaving e-bikes and similar devices out in the sun after one caught fire on Tuesday. (Lone Peak Police Department)

(Lone Peak Police Department)

WEST VALLEY, UT — Authorities are warning about the dangers of e-bikes overheating after one was left out in the sun and caught fire in West Valley on Tuesday. 

E-bikes use lithium-ion batteries and in the hot weather can start a process called thermal runaway. When the temperature in the battery reaches around 140 degrees, it causes a reaction that creates more heat inside. Eventually, the battery starts to release toxic gasses and can burst into flames.

Deputy Communications Director for West Valley City, Roxeanne Vainuku, says e-bike fires are often near a home, making it easier to spread.

But an e-bike fire can be dangerous even when isolated.

“The heat in a battery begins to accelerate rapidly,” Vainuku said. “Within seconds, they can get over a thousand degrees.”

She says not to store any devices with lithium-ion batteries in direct sunlight. Vainuku says not to leave batteries plugged in for too long and store devices in an open area if possible.

“It’s mainly just having that awareness that if that battery gets up to that 140 degree mark, they are at risk for having this happen,” Vianuku said.

If you see a fire caused by an e-bike, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Related: Officials urge parents to follow e-bike regulations

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E-bike catches fire after being left in the sun in West Valley