Attempts are being made to regulate e-bikes due to the occurrence of deadly fires caused by their lithium ion batteries near multifamily buildings.

In New York City, fires have resulted in 74 injuries and 13 deaths as of July 3, according to statistics from the Fire Department of New York. This surpasses the number of deaths in 2021 and 2022 combined. E-bikes were legalized in New York in 2020.

JOCO, an e-bike rental service geared towards delivery workers, has addressed this issue by offering fire-resistant cabinets for storing lithium ion batteries.

The co-founders, both named Jonathan Cohen, recognize the significance of this matter, especially considering that e-bikes are now outselling electric cars. Many of the fires were caused by damaged or poorly manufactured batteries, as delivery workers often opt for cheaper options.

Local Law 39 took effect in New York City on September 16. The law ensures that all e-bikes sold or rented meet specific safety standards.

Even before the introduction of Local Law 39, JOCO was running into problems satisfying e-bike regulations. New York officials fined the company over $6,000 in July for having uncertified batteries at a charging station.

To address the issue, JOCO has developed its own fire-resistant cabinets. The cabinets provide a safe environment in which to store e-bike batteries while they’re being charged.

The fire department has provided its approval for the cabinets in the form of a “Letter of No Objection.” This makes JOCO the first company in New York and the second in the market to receive such clearance.

When e-bikes are brought to JOCO, trained employees remove the e-bike batteries and place them inside the cabinets.

“Once the doors are shut, should anything happen, everything is contained in the cabinet,” said one of the Cohens in an interview with The Real Deal.

With a price tag ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, the cabinets are designed for corporate buyers rather than individuals.

There are two markets in particular that JOCO is targeting. The first is food delivery companies like Grubhub, Orbital Kitchens, and Gopuff. The second is residential and office building owners whose tenants use e-bikes.

In addition to New York, JOCO also has operations in Chicago and Miami. The company has more than 60 locations in total.

Image Source: The Real Deal,