As of the end of August, the London Fire Brigade reported battling 104 e-bike fires and 19 e-scooter fires, surpassing the 116 total incidents recorded in 2022.
Three individuals have lost their lives this year in fires believed to be caused by lithium battery failures, with an additional 51 people suffering injuries.
Fire investigators have scrutinised the 73 e-bike fires reported in the first half of 2023, revealing that approximately 40% involved converted e-bikes.
Moreover, at least 77% of these incidents were linked to battery failures, often associated with cheaper batteries from online sources that may not adhere to UK safety regulations.
The alarming trend has prompted a coroner to write to the Office for Product Standards and Safety, calling for enhanced safety standards following a fatal e-bike fire in March.
E-bikes and e-scooters can ignite rapidly if their lithium batteries sustain damage or malfunction.
While privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on public roads and spaces in London, they can be legally purchased, raising concerns about their safety and usage.
London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Commissioner Dom Ellis said: “Without urgent research into the causes of these battery fires and proper regulation that will help prevent people unknowingly purchasing dangerous products from online marketplaces, such as batteries and conversion kits, we fear we will continue seeing a high level of these types of fires in London.”