Consumer Reports (CR), the independent, non-profit member organization, welcomes the opportunity to share comments with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding lithium-ion battery safety. CR looks forward to participating in the public meeting on July 27, and we are glad to see the agency taking steps to address the well-documented and serious safety hazards associated with certain lithium-ion batteries and the systems that contain them, particularly with respect to incidents of overheating and fires that occur in e-bikes and other micromobility products. This written submission outlines what we plan to present in our oral comments at the public meeting, and—for your convenience—we also enclose a copy of the December 2022 Consumer Reports story on this subject.
Lithium-ion batteries are found in a wide variety of products that consumers use in their everyday lives. From cell phones, to watches, to laptops, to pacemakers and more, people rely on these high power density batteries for their fast charging and long-lasting properties. While lithium-ion batteries are essential to powering many micromobility products consumers use for recreational purposes, commuting, and even their livelihood, they also present serious risks. When lithium-ion batteries are poorly made, overused, charged too long, or tampered with, they can explode and cause rapidly spreading fires that are difficult to extinguish. According to the New York City Fire Department, lithium-ion battery cells can shoot out as far as sixty feet, resulting in multiple fires linked to a single battery failure.
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