Citi Bike’s plan to roll out 4,000 new pedal-assist electric bikes this spring hit a speed bump over the weekend when some of the batteries that power them caught fire.
Firefighters responded to a blaze at the bike-sharing company’s main hub in Brooklyn just after 7 p.m. Sunday.
Fire marshals determined the fire was sparked by a set of lithium-ion batteries that were being charged in the facility, an FDNY spokesman said. No one was injured.
One person with knowledge of the investigation said the outlet the battery chargers were plugged into was “charred” from the fire.
The Sunday fire wasn’t the first time the company’s e-bike batteries had ignited. One burst into flames earlier this year while Citi Bike engineers working in Industry City experimented with a method to make the batteries hold a longer charge, sources said.
A Citi Bike employee who works at the facility told the Daily News that the building, in an industrial corridor on 14th St. in Gowanus, “probably doesn’t meet OSHA standards.”
“There are loose cables hanging out all over the place,” he said. “We just want to feel like our safety is being taken seriously.”
Lyft spokeswoman Julie Wood said, “We take workplace safety seriously. Our plans to add electric bikes to the fleet are on track.”
The building is the only space across the five boroughs where Citi Bike repairs its fleet of two-wheelers. Another facility is set to open in Manhattan later this year.
Operations at the facility were up and running again Monday following an early morning cleanup, according Matt Parker, CEO of Motivate, which operates Citi Bike.
Source: NY Daily News