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To provide delivery workers in Manhattan and Brooklyn with an option to charge their e-bike batteries inside homes and businesses, New York City is going to start testing public e-bike charging points. As part of a six-month city pilot initiative, Cooper Square in the East Village revealed the first of five charging centers on Thursday.
A red and white electric bike is docked at a charging station as a person gestures to it and others look on in the background, some taking photos.

 

E-bikes, e-scooters, and other e-mobility devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have quickly emerged as a major contributor to tragic fires in New York City. In 2023, the batteries caused 268 fires, resulting in 18 fatalities and 150 injuries.

As of February 26, there had been 31 lithium-battery fires in the city; last week, a fire in an apartment building in Harlem killed 27-year-old journalist Fazil Khan and injured 17 more.

Lithium batteries have a very short burst point. Batteries shouldn’t be charged or kept close to doors and windows where a fire could obstruct an escape, according to fire officials. Outside is the safest location for battery charging.

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In addition, public service ads on dangerous battery conditions at e-bike businesses have been distributed by New York officials, who have also advocated for more state and federal regulation of e-mobility devices. The goal of a number of voluntary trade-in initiatives has been to remove dangerous e-bikes and batteries from circulation.

In order to install 173 outdoor charging stations for e-bikes and other e-mobility devices at 53 of the city’s subsidized public housing complexes, the city obtained a $25 million federal grant last year; however, none of the stations have been constructed as of yet. By the end of the year, four more complexes are anticipated to have charging stations installed as part of a different pilot initiative run by the utility ConThe other locations will be curbside along Willoughby Street between Pearl and Jay Streets in Downtown Brooklyn; at Plaza de Las Americas, a pedestrian plaza in Washington Heights; in a parking lot at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park; and on the sidewalk outside Essex Market, a food market on the Lower East Side.

Battery-swapping stations will be installed by Swobbee and PopWheels so that users can swap out their spent batteries for fully charged ones. E-bikes can be parked and charged at a secure bike rack that Swiftmile will build. Not all three firms’ charging technology will be offered at the same hub; only Cooper Square and Brooklyn Army Terminal.

The hubs for charging Edison.

 

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