The Sunday Telegraph

Tighten rules on e-bikes, Brompton cycles boss urges

- By Gareth Corfield

THE boss of bicycle maker Brompton is backing a crackdown on “poor-quality” electric bike batteries that have been blamed for a number of fatal fires.

Will Butler-Adams, managing director of Brompton Bicycles, is backing a charity’s campaign to introduce stricter rules on e-bike batteries and stop dangerous products from entering the UK.

Batteries and chargers used with e-bikes and e-scooters have caused a number of fatal fires in recent years.

They have been linked to the deaths of 11 people within the last year alone.

Under current rules, battery and charger suppliers can self-certify that their products meet safety standards required for them to be put on sale.

The folding bicycle company’s director said he supported Electrical Safety First’s plans for all e-bike batteries to be independen­tly inspected before being approved for sale.

Mr Butler-Adams said: “We’ve got poor-quality stuff coming into the UK and if we’re not careful, that will affect the whole momentum of light electric vehicle transport, which would be an absolute chronic shame.”

He added: “We trust that an electric car is well made, the standards are well adhered to.

“And we did have some fires in the very early days of electric cars, but they’ve gone because the standards, the controls, the regulation is such that now we trust them.

“There are too many examples of e-bikes, e-scooters and light electric vehicles hurting people and scaring people. Then suddenly you can’t carry them on public transport, you can’t store them in buildings, and it all snowballs into a world of fear.”

Mr Butler-Adams is backing plans by the Electrical Safety First charity for a new law to crack down on dangerous lithium-ion batteries. A Ten Minute Rule Bill backed by Electrical Safety First is due to be tabled by Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue later in the spring.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: “The support for our Bill by Brompton Bicycles demonstrat­es how reputable manufactur­ers want to protect shoppers and their industry from the bad operators in this space who may be producing substandar­d batteries. Our Bill will better protect the public, protect good businesses and weed out bad operators producing dangerous batteries that put people’s lives at risk.”

This week alone has seen two e-bike explosions: one in a bicycle rack at a London train station and the other, a pedicab, outside Buckingham Palace.

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