NEW YORK (PIX11) — Leo owns and operates his own e-bike repair shop in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx, where he presented an unauthorized “non UL-Certified” lithium-ion e-bike battery to show why he welcomes news of a new City Council-backed lithium-ion battery trade-in program.
“UL” stands for Underwriter Laboratories – and represents a universally accepted industry safety standard.
The New York City Council approved the two-year trade-in program Thursday, and aims to get the dangerous, explosion-prone devices off the street.
Councilman Keith Powers sponsored the bill.
“So that people with uncertified batteries and bikes can surrender their dangerous equipment and receive safe replacements at reduced or no cost,” said Powers.
So far this year, 14 people have died, with more than 100 others injured in fires tied to faulty lithium-ion batteries, according to the FDNY.
Powers said the city will pressure app-delivery companies to publicize the trade-in program among their fleet of e-bike riding delivery workers.
But he acknowledges he’s also counting on a grassroots effort led by the riders, who often take their e-bikes home.
Back in the shop, Leo said he’s now seeing two other issues with e-batteries, and it has nothing to do with their non-UL certification.
Leo said customer are frequently using the wrong AC charger, in addition to jerry-rigging of the e-battery charging port.
“A lot of people see the battery is no good, so they take out like this. They take it out this. It’s like – boom,” said Leo.