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CPSC holds lithium-ion battery safety forum Thursday

Published July 26, 2023
The meeting is open to the public via videoconferencing.

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Representatives from various organizations — including the bicycle industry, independent standards groups, and consumer safety advocates — will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT to discuss lithium-ion battery safety at a Consumer Product Safety Commission forum.

The four-hour forum is open to in-person at CPSC's Hearing Room in Bethesda, Maryland, and virtual participation. CPSC members — Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric and Commissioners Peter Feldman, Richard L. Trumka Jr., and Mary Boyle — will hear from stakeholders on lithium-ion battery safety, with a specific focus on fires occurring with micromobility products and the potential risks growing along with the consumer market.

Industry representatives taking part include Matt Moore, PeopleForBikes' policy counsel; Mike Fritz, Human Powered Solutions' chief technology officer; Jeff Jambois, Trek Bicycle's electrical compliance engineer; and Heather Mason, the National Bicycle Dealers Association's president.

"Coming out of the meeting tomorrow, we expect that the commission will be better versed in the issues associated with lithium-ion batteries and will have heard ideas to carry their regulatory process forward," Fritz told BRAIN on Wednesday.

The forum begins with introductory videos by New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), who introduced federal legislation in March to regulate lithium-ion battery safety standards.

The forum then will be divided into three discussion panels, the first featuring FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. The second panel features Moore and Fritz and also includes:

  • Dr. Judy Jeevarajan, vice president and executive director for UL Research Institutes and Electrochemical Safety Research Institute.
  • Dr. Michael Pecht, director and distinguished professor for the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering at the University of Maryland.
  • Drew J. Pereira, Ph.D., research and development manager for the Soteria Battery Innovation Group.
  • Lorraine Carli, vice president — Outreach and Advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association.

In addition to Jambois and Mason, the final panel includes:

  • Robert Slone, senior vice president and chief scientist for UL Solutions.
  • Michael Becker, manager and technical specialist energy storage for CSA Group.
  • George Kerchner, executive director at PRBA — The Rechargeable Battery Association.
  • Brandon Martin, vice president of Battery and Electric Products and Industry Affairs for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.
  • Gabe Knight, safety policy analyst for Consumer Reports.

In New York City alone this year, lithium-ion battery explosions have resulted in more than 100 fires and 13 deaths, Kavanagh told The AP last month after an e-bike shop blaze reached upper-floor apartments and killed four people. In March, Mayor Eric Adams signed a lithium-ion battery safety legislative package prohibiting the sale of e-bikes, other powered mobility devices like e-scooters, and batteries that don't meet recognized certification like UL. 

In December, the CPSC sent a letter to more than 2,000 e-bike manufacturers and importers and other micromobility devices, urging them to comply with relevant safety standards, including UL 2849. 

The forum comes three days after the CPSC closed public comments on reviewing bicycle safety standards — including e-bikes — that haven't been substantially updated since their inception in 1975.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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