New York Metropolis’s plan to cease e-bike battery fires


Current battery swap networks like Nio’s have largely included a single firm’s gear, giving the producer management over the car, battery, and swapping gear. That’s as a result of one of many keys to creating battery swapping work is fleet commonality—a base of many autos that may all use the identical system.

Luckily, supply drivers have fashioned one thing of a de facto fleet in New York Metropolis, says David Hammer, co-founder and president of Popwheels. Roughly half of the town’s 60,000-plus supply staff depend on e-bikes, in keeping with metropolis estimates. A lot of them use bikes from a model known as Arrow, which embody detachable batteries.

Comfort is vital for supply drivers engaged on tight schedules. “For lots of people, battery charging, battery swapping, it’s simply know-how. However for [delivery workers], it’s their livelihood,” says Irene Figueroa-Ortiz, a coverage advisor on the NYC Division of Transportation.

For the New York pilot, Popwheels is constructing battery cupboards in a number of areas all through the town that may embody 16 charging slots for e-bike batteries. Riders will open a cupboard door utilizing a smartphone app, plug within the used battery and take a contemporary one from one other slot. Primarily based on the corporate’s modeling, every cupboard ought to be capable to assist fixed use by 40 to 50 riders, Hammer says.

“Possibly it results in an excellent bigger imaginative and prescient of battery swapping as part of an city future,” Hammer says. “However for now, it’s fixing a really actual and speedy downside that supply staff have round how they will work a full day, and earn an inexpensive dwelling, and do it with out having to place their lives in danger for battery fires.”

A rising downside

Lithium-ion batteries energy merchandise from laptops and cellphones to electrical autos, together with vehicles, vans, and e-bikes. A significant advantage of the battery chemistry is its power density, or skill to pack a number of power right into a small container. However all that saved power can be harmful.

Batteries can catch hearth throughout charging or use, and even whereas being saved. Typically, fires occur when temperatures across the battery rise to unsafe ranges or if a bodily downside in a battery causes a brief circuit, permitting present to circulation unchecked. These elements can set in movement a harmful course of known as thermal runaway.

Most batteries embody a battery administration system to manage charging, which prevents temperatures from spiking and sparking a hearth. But when this technique malfunctions or if a battery doesn’t embody one, charging can result in fires, says Ben Hoff, who leads hearth security engineering and {hardware} design at Popwheels.


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