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New York City receives $25 million for safe e-bike charging stations outside NYCHA buildings

Funding going toward e-bike charging stations outside NYCHA complexes
Funding going toward e-bike charging stations outside NYCHA complexes 02:17

NEW YORK -- Sunday morning, New York city and state officials announced funding for safe e-bike and battery charging outside NYCHA complexes.

This comes after a fire in an e-bike shop killed four people in Chinatown last Tuesday.

Videos, shared with CBS2, that the FDNY says they're making available to fire departments across the country show just how quickly lithium-ion battery fires start and how hard they are to put out.

Just this year, there have been 110 of these fires in New York City, killing 13 people.

Four of those deaths came on Tuesday of last week, when an e-bike shop in Chinatown burned down too quickly to escape.

"The sheer volume of fire is incredibly dangerous. We've said this over and over, it can make it nearly impossible to get out in time," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

Sunday morning, senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, along with Mayor Eric Adams, announced that the city has been granted $25 million to build safe charging stations for e-bikes outside NYCHA buildings.

"I am announcing right now that we have procured a grant that NYCHA will get $25 million dollars in emergency money," Schumer said.

"It will enable the city to install 173 charging and storage stations at 53 outdoor NYCHA sites, which will help prevent these catastrophic fires from starting," Gillibrand said.

"This means that residents will no longer need to charge their e-bikes in their apartments, what we find to be extremely dangerous, particularly when you charge them overnight," Adams said.

New York officials announce new e-bike safety measures 21:47

The city says the NYCHA chargers will start being installed early next year. With the addition of this federal funding, the city expects a total of 327 charging stations to be built in partnership with Con Edison.

Schumer says getting refurbished batteries out of stores and homes, as well as cheap Chinese-made batteries, is equally important.

"The problem here is the Chinese batteries cut corners, and that's why they have so many accidents. But people say oh, this one's a couple hundred dollars less, I'll buy it. We gotta stop that," Schumer said.

"Infrastructure is a huge step towards transitioning deliveristas to this new era of safe micro-mobility," said Ligia M. Guallpa with the Workers Justice Project.

Soon after Tuesday's fire, Adams announced FDNY would start responding to 311 calls about questionable batteries within 12 hours, instead of the current 72-hour response time. 

In 2022, there were 220 fires started by lithium-ion batteries in New York City, causing six deaths.

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