Brompton boss calls for stronger e-bike battery regulations in the UK

Will Butler-Adams fears that 'poor quality' e-bikes could 'affect the whole momentum of light electric vehicle transport'

Clock08:48, Monday 15th April 2024
Brompton manufactures folding bikes, including e-bikes

© GCN

Brompton manufactures folding bikes, including e-bikes

The managing director of Brompton has backed a campaign to introduce stricter e-bike battery regulations in the UK, amid "too many examples of e-bikes, e-scooters and light electric vehicles hurting people and scaring people".

E-bike batteries have been linked to multiple fatal fires in recent years - as many as 11 in the last 12 months alone, according to The Telegraph - and Will Butler-Adams fears that the incidents are being driven by poor regulations, which are allowing “poor quality” e-bike batteries to enter the UK.

“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,” Butler-Adams said in an interview with The Telegraph.

“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 regulations are 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.”

Read more: 8 e-bike safety tips for beginners: How to stay safe while using an electric bike

Within the current regulations, e-bike batteries don’t have to be externally tested, and it is up to the manufacturer to certify whether a battery meets the required safety standards or not. Electrical Safety First, a charity based in the UK, is currently campaigning for a change to these regulations that would ensure that every e-bike battery has to be independently tested before it can be put on sale.

Butler-Adams has backed the campaign, along with a bill - set to be tabled by Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue this spring - that calls for a clampdown on lithium-ion batteries, which has also been spurred on by Electrical Safety First.

“The support for our bill by Brompton Bicycle demonstrates how reputable manufacturers want to protect shoppers and their industry from the bad operators in this space who may be producing substandard batteries,” Electrical Safety First chief executive, Lesley Rudd, said to The Telegraph.

“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.”

Read more: UK ministers consulting on doubling e-bike power limit and allowing throttles

E-bike laws are currently in the spotlight in the UK, where the government is considering a proposal that could see the definition of an electric bike altered. If passed, the legal maximum power output for e-bikes would catapult from 250W to 500W, while throttle-powered bikes would gain e-bike status. The latter were previously legally classified as mopeds, making them subject to additional road laws.

The proposed changes, which are in the last two weeks of the consultation period, have drawn plenty of scrutiny, including from the Association of Cycle Traders and Bicycle Association who have both urged the bike industry to unite against the proposed changes.

Keep up to date with the latest e-bike news on the GCN website

Related Content

Link to 10 things you should never do on an e-bike
Avoid these mistakes when riding an e-bike

10 things you should never do on an e-bike

Avoiding these mistakes and mishaps will help you to stay safe, while also helping to keep your electric bike in tip-top condition

Clock
Link to E-bike rider caught cycling along M25 aboard illegal two-wheeler
BCH road policing unit pulled the over at the Potters Bar junction of the M25

E-bike rider caught cycling along M25 aboard illegal two-wheeler

We break down all the rules for riding an e-bike in the UK

Clock
Link to Wiggle was sold for £3 million after last-minute collapse of initial deal
Wiggle was sold for £3 million new report reveals

Wiggle was sold for £3 million after last-minute collapse of initial deal

Latest administrators' report reveals how brand was bought by Mike Ashley's Frasers Group in February following the withdrawal of a buyer in December

Clock
Link to British Cycling targets net zero by 2035 as part of new sustainability strategy
British Cycling governs every discipline of cycling

British Cycling targets net zero by 2035 as part of new sustainability strategy

Shell-sponsored national governing body for cycling has set out the steps it is taking to 'go green'

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox