UPP Lithium-Ion Batteries Identified as Pose Serious Fire Risk, Recalled, and Banned from Sale by UK Government

With a strong cycling culture in Europe and North America, coupled with increased environmental awareness and worsening urban traffic congestion, more and more people are choosing electric bicycles as a means of transportation. As the number of electric bicycles has significantly increased, so has the probability of electrical fires. Last year, reports indicated that the London Fire Brigade received a call about electric bicycle or electric scooter fires every two days, a 60% increase from the previous year.

To minimize the risk of battery explosions, several government agencies have begun to intensify their supervision of the production and sale of electric bicycles, and have implemented strict safety regulations. For example, New York City Council passed legislation on lithium-ion battery safety. Additionally, the UK has also started to strengthen its regulation of subpar batteries.

Recently, UPP lithium-ion batteries manufactured in China have caused multiple fires in the UK, leading the UK government to ban their sale on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. The product has been identified as posing a serious fire risk. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) pointed out that due to poor manufacturing quality, subpar welding quality, lack of overheat protection thermal sensors, and effective battery management systems, UPP batteries may lead to serious accidents.

OPSS has issued withdrawal notices to four online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and China Manufacturing, instructing them to cease the supply of UPP batteries. In addition, warning notices have been sent to 20 sellers and to UPP itself.

Graham Russell, CEO of OPSS, stated, “We consider these UPP batteries to be extremely dangerous, and we are taking this action to prevent their supply. Consumers need to be aware of the risks of these batteries failing and the potentially fatal consequences. If anyone has one, they should not use it and should contact the seller for compensation.”

The UPP battery models specifically mentioned in the report are U004 and U004-1, designed for installation in the main triangle of bicycles. According to product descriptions, UPP batteries are suitable for most motor kits but do not include brands such as Bosch, SHIMANO, Yamaha, Panasonic, and others.

However, the charity Electrical Safety First believes that the government’s actions are not enough. Luke Osborne, Deputy Technical Director of the organization, stated, “Once dangerous batteries are identified, we can’t simply rely on corrective actions to extinguish the fire risk from electric bicycle battery fires.” He called on the government to introduce third-party approvals for all electric bicycles, preventing dangerous electric bicycle and electric scooter batteries from entering homes. This would imply that all electric bicycles, scooters, and batteries must receive approval from independent approval bodies before being sold to consumers.

Although there are no specific policies or regulations in place at present, it is foreseeable that the UK government will implement stricter measures to ensure the safety of the electric bicycle industry and will exercise more stringent supervision over manufacturers’ production standards.

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