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New York lawmakers send lithium-ion safety package to governor

Published May 29, 2024

ALBANY, N.Y. (BRAIN) — The New York State Senate passed a legislative package aimed at strengthening lithium-ion battery safety standards, including one that will recognize the European testing standard EN 15194 along with UL 2849.

The legislative package, which was passed by the New York State Assembly early this month, now will be sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul for approval. If Hochul signs off on the legislation, it will become law 90 days after signing.

Manufactured and Sale Standards of Lithium-Ion Batteries (Bill S154F), sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger, would allow manufacturers to use ISO 17025, ISO 17065, or an OSHA-approved nationally recognized testing lab. PeopleForBikes supported an amendment to recognize all EN and UL standards for e-bikes and drive systems.

The New York City Council, facing the rising number of lithium-ion battery fires, passed legislation last year to require UL or similar certification. To be legally sold, rented, or leased in New York City, e-bikes need to meet UL 2849 or similar certification; batteries have to meet UL 2271.

Other components of the state legislation include:

  • Lithium-Ion Battery Mitigation (S7746A) is sponsored by Sen. Iwen Chu and would require businesses to have on-hand protection and suppression measures for fires including battery cases and fire extinguishers.
  • Plug Warning Tag (S7760A), also sponsored by Chu, would require any micromobility devices, mopeds, and e-bikes to have a red tag attached to the charging cord that would state to unplug when not in use.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Prevention Study (S6660), sponsored by Sen. Monica Martinez, would authorize a study on lithium-ion battery fires and prevention to review the severity of lithium-ion battery fires.
  • E-bike Operations Notice (S7744C): Sponsored by Chu, this would require retailers to put a notice on any e-bikes that states you cannot use it on sidewalks or highways with a speed limit over 30 mph.
  • Lithium-ion Battery Safety Program (S6809B): Sponsored by Sen. Cordell Cleare establishes a safety program to provide new lithium-ion batteries at reduced cost or no cost to eligible individuals.
  • E-Bike Operation Manual (S7503B): This bill, also sponsored by Cleare, requires retailers of e-bikes to provide customers with an operating manual.
  • Lithium-ion Battery Emergency Response Training (S8742): Another bill sponsored by Cleare would incorporate training for lithium-ion battery emergency response into the Office of Fire Prevention and Control specialized hazardous materials emergency response training program.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Resources (S8743): The final bill sponsored by Cleare would direct the department of state, in consultation with the division of homeland security and emergency services and the New York state energy research and development authority, to develop and maintain safety resources, information, and protocols regarding fire hazard prevention relating to lithium-ion batteries.

In February, Hochul announced the start of a safety campaign to raise awareness of consumer products that use lithium-ion batteries. The campaign includes display, search, and social media ads directed to consumers purchasing lithium-ion battery powered items like e-bikes and e-scooters.

For the first time in its campaign to help the city address escalating lithium-ion battery fires, the Fire Department of New York filed criminal charges against a Brooklyn e-bike shop owner in April for illegal storage and charging. New York City experienced 240 fires and 17 deaths from lithium-ion battery incidents last year, according to FDNY. In 2022, there were 220 fires and six deaths. Through the middle of April this year, according to the FDNY, there were 61 investigations, 30 injuries, and one death.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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