The insurer is warning commercial businesses and consumers of the risks associated with fires resulting from the electrically powered micro-mobility vehicles

Axa UK has revealed that two large claims associated with lithium-ion batteries in an electric scooter and bike has resulted in a loss of almost half a million pounds.

As this choice of transport becomes more popular, the insurer is warning the insurance industry and consumers of the significant fire risk caused by these batteries being damaged, over-charged or exposed to extreme temperatures.

One of the major claims occured as a result of a faulty e-scooter battery being charged in the kitchen of a ground-floor terrace flat – leading to an explosion and a fire that spread to two storeys above.

The second occurred in a block of flats where an e-bike battery was being charged. The resulting fire destroyed the flat and caused smoke damage to the residences on either side.

Despite the damage within the residential buildings, no one was injured.

A spokesperson from the London Fire Brigade said that “it’s incredibly concerning that we are continuing to see a rise in incidents involving e-bikes and e-scooters”.

“When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity and because the fires develop so rapidly the situation can quickly become incredibly serious,” they added.

Commercial caution

In addition to warning of the risk associated with residential properties, Axa is also alerting commercial businesses – such as shopping centres, retailers and e-bike and scooter storage and repair facilities – about the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries.

The insurer stated that businesses must ensure they have put in place reasonable precautions, reviewed and updated existing fire risk assessments and purchased specific fire extinguishers designed for use on these fires.

Dougie Barnett, director of customer risk management at Axa Commercial, said: “Fire safety should be the top priority when it comes to charging and storing electric bikes and scooters.

“As an insurer, we’re there for people when the worst happens, but we want to make sure these risks are managed and reduced so they can avoid the devastating consequences of a fire in their homes or business.”