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Written reply to PQ on fire hazard posed by lithium-ion batteries for electric devices

Written reply to PQ on fire hazard posed by lithium-ion batteries for electric devices

Question

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong:
To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the lithium-ion batteries used by electric bicycles, PMDs and other electric devices should be designated as controlled goods under the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations to reduce the increasing incidences of fire caused by their charging.

Written Answer by Minister for Trade & Industry Mr Chan Chun Sing

1. Electrical devices such as Power Assisted Bicycles (“PABs”) and motorised Personal Mobility Devices (“PMDs”) should be tested for their safety as a whole, rather than having components such as lithium-ion batteries tested in insolation. Unlike most consumer electrical devices, PMDs and PABs are exposed to harsher conditions such as wet weather and uneven ground. In this regard, the testing of the device as a whole, takes into consideration of how the overall design and materials used are able to withstand expected operating conditions of the device. 

2. To safeguard fire safety risks, the Land Transport Authority (“LTA”) announced earlier that it will require all motorised PMDs intended for use on public paths to be certified to the UL2272 standard from 1 January 2021. PABs that are approved after 1 February 2016 for use on public road and paths are also required to adhere to the EN15194 standard. Both the UL2272 and EN15194 standards can improve the fire and electrical safety of PMDs and PABs respectively.

3. Enterprise Singapore (“ESG”) oversees the product safety of 33 categories of common household appliances, including power adaptors used to charge PABs and motorised PMDs through the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations (“CPSR”). These goods have to be registered with ESG, and affixed with the Safety Mark before they can be sold in Singapore. In addition, ESG administers the Consumer Protection (Consumer Goods Safety Requirements) Regulations (“CGSR”), which requires general consumer products not regulated under any other legislations to meet applicable international or regional safety standards. ESG conducts post-market testing, and suppliers found with non compliant products will be asked to rectify or stop sale. 

4. Consumers should also be aware that the usage of every product will carry inherent risks. We strongly encourage consumers to exercise vigilance when purchasing and charging electrical devices. When purchasing PABs and PMDs, consumers should buy from reputable sources and be alert to prices which look too good to be true. Besides ensuring that the Safety Mark is on the adaptor, consumers should also avoid overcharging or tampering with the electrical components of their devices. 
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