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Is your electric bike / electric scooter charger safe?

In March 2017, a 2 year old girl died due to a fire at her house in Pennsylvania, USA. The fire services established the cause as ‘faulty electrical devices’, in other words, the fire was caused by a balance board being charged. It’s not the first time that balance boards and their charges have been in the press, back in 2016 when hoverboards were the latest craze, the US government took steps to prevent more than 500,000 balance boards reaching the market due to failing safety tests. More recently in July 2018, a user charging his electric scooter saw his power adaptor explode.

There has been an increase in travelling greener, we have seen the likes of Lime Bird & Bird and other start ups introducing electric scooters and bikes to solve the life long issue of the last mile. So what’s the issue? Why is there an increase in electric personal vehicles when so many of these are catching on fire? One reason poised by XVE, an ShenZhen manufacture of charging adapters is that there has been an increase in lower quality resulting in the market being flooded with cheaper, inferior items, this could be motherboards with incorrect resistors installed to plugs without fuses.

There are two things that can cause a fire and together can have devastating consequences. These are the battery and the charger. We are far too aware of the issues surrounding batteries, while travelling on a plane, it’s prohibited to check in power banks or other devices with Lithium-ion batteries into your checked luggage, safety demonstrations also point to the fact you should alert cabin crew if you drop your phone between your seat. There also has been greater control for Air Freight by the industry.

Batteries can cause fires easily, good batteries are assembled with fireproof material and are certified with an MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet. Genuine batteries will bear certification, however fake batteries can display a mark too, so it’s best you ensure your supplier has a vetted supply chain and has relevant certificates of tests.

A lot of charges do not meet safety standards. Chargers should bear the manufacturers name and ideally state their UL certificate number. According to figures collected on the internet, between January to July 2018, there were 4 million electric personal vehicles recalled due to safety issues. Power Adapters are easily tested and easily replaced, therefore it’s imperative to test power adapters before shipping your items, A number of test house exist in China where you can ensure your power adapter are safe for use.

Make sure your power adaptors has a clearly visible manufactures name, and bears the CE, UL and if applicable the FCC mark. These marks are not conclusive, you should always asks for certifications and where in doubt, complete independent testing to determine whether or not the product is indeed safe. These plugs which are tested, are tested thoroughly in labs where certain tests are performed to ensure that they operate in a safe way, for example, when excess power is drawn, that the power is cut before any fatal overload. You will be able to identify an inferior quality product by visually inspecting the charger, generally they will be of cheaper plastic, being of less weight. The best practise is to compare your charger to a charge that is similar, for example to one provided with a laptop, or TV.

You can also use the UL website to identify that the manufacture has used a genuine UL number, however this becomes harder as chargers are shipped as part of an whole product and factories normally buy chargers and supply you the entire product. If you do want to check, you can go to  iq.ulprospector.com and enter the certificate number and hit search. For example, if you take this XVE electric charger as an example, you should see the manufacturer listed as “JIN XIN YU POWER (SHENZHEN) SUPPLY CO LTD” when you search for the certificate number “E483915”.  You will be presented the company and product model information. However it’s easy to imitate genuine products and we recommend you test with independent test labs wherever possible.

Other components such as seats, tires, can also pose a safety risk, however the main cause of concerns is the charger and battery. If you are unsure whether your charger is safe, you can opt to buy your charger separately from a reputable company such as JIN XIN YU POWER (SHENZHEN) SUPPLY CO LTD. I


Tel:13632860590 Mr Hu

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