Cambridgeshire Fire Service is calling for better regulation of online sales of e-bike batteries and chargers following the deaths of a mother and her two children after a fire at their home in Cambridge in June.
Gemma Germeney, 31, and her children Lilly Peden, eight, and Oliver Peden, four, died following a fire that was believed to have been caused by an electric bike that was left charging overnight. The fire service has written to the coroner, reported the BBC, who has yet to complete the inquest and said the matter was still "subject to investigation".
Cambridgeshire Fire Service said: "There continues to be a lack of regulation for online marketplaces, where people are able to purchase batteries and chargers which may not meet product safety standards."
It added it had concerns with e-bike conversion kit chargers, "that can be used, or incorrectly matched, with battery packs, increasing the risk of fire". It said the solution would not rely "solely with improved regulation", but also with "education of the safe use of private light electric vehicles".
In September, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) published information for consumers to raise awareness around the safe purchasing, use and charging of e-bikes and e-scooters.
This includes messaging around safe use and charging of lithium batteries in e-bikes and scooters, including unplugging when charging has finished, and advice on using manufacturer recommended batteries and chargers. People are also recommended to buy from known sellers, and check product reviews before buying.
Graham Russell, chief executive of OPSS said: “We are working across government and also with the fire service to fully understand why these fire incidents are taking place.
“As part of our safety study, we are reviewing all the information available to us in relation to fire incidents involving lithium batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters, including in conversion kits, to ensure the product safety issues are properly assessed and action is taken to protect users from harm.
“That’s why we’ve published this consumer information, to help consumers be safe through knowing how they should use and charge these type of batteries.”