E-bike battery causes fireball at Sydney hostel, one injured

“This happens almost weekly in Australia and we are likely to see a spike after Christmas,” she said.

“E-bike and e-scooter battery fires are incredibly common, and in London and New York there is one such fire every day, if not two or three.”

Last month, the consumer watchdog called for stricter regulations on lithium-ion battery products after a spate of fires.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in almost all wireless and rechargeable devices, including cell phones, laptops, children’s toys, electric toothbrushes and solar panels.

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There were more lithium-ion battery fires in the first eight months of 2023 than in all of 2022. Fire and Rescue NSW responded to 165 incidents in the year to August, compared to 114 last year.

“In the first six months of this year we stopped counting 500 battery fires in electric bikes and scooters,” Sutcliffe said.

“We were able to track 238 injuries and at least 43 deaths, and all of these deaths were due to fires.”

In September, a battery in a golf cart-like buggy exploded at a St John Ambulance facility in Burwood, in Sydney’s inner west. A few days earlier, five cars were destroyed after a lithium-ion battery in one of the electric vehicles exploded at Sydney Airport.

In a separate incident on the same day, an electric vehicle caught fire after hitting debris in Penrose, south of Sydney.

In August, a 54-year-old man died after a lithium-ion battery stored in his Punchbowl apartment exploded. His death is believed to have been caused by inhaling toxic fumes.

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Justin Scaccy

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