E-bikes flagged for 'destructive and deadly fires.’ Democrats want to create a tax credit for them

"The tragic loss of life from battery fires is heartbreaking and preventable," Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. said in December.

Published: March 22, 2023 11:57pm

Updated: March 23, 2023 7:07am

A group of House Democrats has proposed legislation that would offer up to a $1,500 federal tax credit for the purchase of new e-bikes even as "[d]estructive and deadly fires from lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes have reached a crisis level," according to Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr.

The lawmakers who formally reintroduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act on Tuesday include Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Congressional Bike Caucus Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has introduced the Senate version of the legislation.

"Many people are looking to get out of their cars and get on to e-bikes, not just for recreation, but also for transportation purposes," Panetta said in a statement. "Although we're seeing more people on them in our communities, more needs to be done to ensure that everybody across our country has access to an e-bike. With its fully refundable tax incentives for those in the lower economic levels, the E-BIKE Act is a commonsense way to encourage the ownership of e-bikes. By incentivizing Americans to own and use e-bikes, we are allowing them the chance to help improve the quality of life in our communities and tackle the climate crisis in our country."

Under the bill, the tax credit of up to $1,500 would apply to "new electric bicycles that cost less than $8,000." The tax credit covers 30% of the cost of the e-bike, not to exceed $1,500 total.

Blumenauer said he is supporting the bill, in part, because he wants more Americans to burn calories instead of fossil fuel.

"Let's get more people off of the highway and into the bike lanes," he said. 

According to one report, the Consumer Product Safety Commission identified the Ancheer e-bike model AM001907 as "particularly dangerous" and it was recalled.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the amount of e-bike fires is "rising rapidly."

So far there, there have been 216 incidents related to e-bike battery fires in New York City alone. The latest fire resulting from an e-bike battery took place in The Bronx about two weeks ago.

"The tragic loss of life from battery fires is heartbreaking and preventable," Trumka said in December.

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