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CPSC Issues e-Bike Battery Warning and Recall

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission warns riders to stop using Unit Pack Power (UPP) -e-bike batteries due to potentially fatal fire and burn hazards.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

May 29, 2024

3 Min Read
e-bike fire remnants
Charred remains of e-bikes and scooters sit outside of a building in Chinatown after four people were killed by a fire in an e-bike repair shop overnight on June 20, 2023, in New York City.SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NEWS VIA GETTY IMAGES

E-bikes and scooters and other micromobility devices are exploding in popularity. They are affordable, plentiful, and suitable, particularly in dense urban spaces, for a growing number of commercial tasks like package delivery, in addition to personal transportation needs. Unfortunately, they are also sometimes exploding—literally. They can be deadly, with thermal runaway events being a primary concern that battery manufacturers and researchers continue to address.

Thermal runaway occurs when a battery overheats, potentially leading to an explosion or fire, as we have seen in some high-profile incidents involving electric bikes in NYC. Many of those e-bike fires are caused by cheaply and shoddily made batteries, often sourced from China.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently issued a recall and a public warning regarding one such battery: CPSC has issued a public health and safety notice to warn the public about the risk of serious injury and death with Unit Pack Power (UPP) e-bike batteries.

Recalled UPP batteries

The lithium-ion batteries pose fire and burn hazards: CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the UPP batteries with model number “U004” or “U004-1”. The Commission has found that the public health and safety requires this notice to warn the public quickly of the hazard.

CPSC’s urgent warning comes after 13 people in the United States reported the battery overheated, including seven reports of fire and substantial property damage. The batteries reportedly were also involved in multiple fires in the United Kingdom. The batteries have not been certified by an accredited laboratory to the applicable UL safety standard to ensure protections.

How to identify the battery

The batteries are manufactured by Shenzhen Unit Pack Power Technology Co. Ltd., d/b/a Unit Pack Power or UPP, of China, which has refused to conduct an acceptable recall.

The batteries are black, triangular, and are sold as batteries to convert pedal bicycles to e-bikes. They have “U004 BATTERY” or “UPPBATTERY” printed on the side. The model number is printed on a separate label on the battery pack. 

These batteries were sold under the brand-name “Unit Pack Power” or “UPP” online at AliExpress, Amazon, DHgate, eBay, Walmart, other online retailers, and at https://unitpackpower.net from 2018 through April 2024 for between $280 and $730.

Dispose of properly

Consumers should stop use and dispose of the batteries in accordance with any local and state ordinances, following the procedures established by your municipal recycling center for damaged/defective/recalled lithium batteries, because these potentially hazardous batteries must be handled differently than other batteries. Do not throw this battery in the trash. Do not deposit this battery in used battery recycling boxes found at various retail and home improvement stores.

CPSC urges consumers to only use micromobility products that have been designed, manufactured, and certified for compliance by an accredited laboratory with the applicable consensus safety standards. Consumers should always be present when charging such products, and only charge them with the charger with the e-battery from the e-bike manufacturer. Never charge batteries for micromobility products while sleeping.

Consumers are asked ro report incidents involving the Unit Pack Power batteries, or any product-related injury, to CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov.

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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