A fire broke out at the HQ and showroom of Dutch electric bike brand Stella last Thursday. “This involved 36 bicycles and 80 batteries,” said a press statement from Stella, which is based in Nunspeet, 60 kilometers north of Arnhem. It is the third fire to have hit Stella since July last year when 300 residents living close to a company warehouse elsewhere in Nunspeet had to be evacuated from their homes overnight. The mayor of Nunspeet told the Stentor newspaper at the time that the fire at the Stella plant was a “wake-up call.”
In November 2018 a Stella delivery van carrying e-bikes was destroyed after it caught fire.
Regarding the latest fire a Stella press statement said: “The exact cause of the fire is now being investigated. We comply with all permits and have also taken extra-legal measures. In our new building a bunker has been built so that a fire cannot occur there.”
The statement added: “We are quite startled, but we are glad that much damage was prevented because fire crews were on the scene quickly.”
Gary Ryan’s high-end Pinarello Dogma F8 caught fire on Adelaide’s Corkscrew Road hill climb, filmed by 9News. 9NEWS
E-bike conflagrations are currently in the news. Last week a 79-year-old Australian man had a lucky escape when the high-end road bike he was riding burst into flames on a famous ascent near Adelaide. The rear wheel of Gary Ryan’s Pinarello Dogma F8 had been retrofitted with an electric hub motor, which caught fire on a climb.
It is unusual for electric bikes to catch fire, but not unheard of. Lithium-ion batteries are highly flammable, and need to be charged and stored with great care.
Last year, trade magazine Bike Europe commissioned a fire safety engineer to examine the aftermath of a fire in a Dutch bike shop started by an unattended charging battery. Rob Overdijkink told the magazine that lithium-ion batteries are “rather unreliable, rather explosive. You are never sure if or when they will explode. And when they do, you have a big problem.”