REBNY appreciates this opportunity to testify on these bills related to E-batteries for mobile devices.
BILL: Intro 949-2023
SUBJECT: This bill would require the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, in conjunction with other appropriate agencies, to provide low- or no-cost lithium-ion batteries used to power mobile devices, including by potentially setting up an exchange program whereby certain people could turn in old batteries in exchange for new ones. Any batteries provided to the public would be certified and marked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
SPONSORS: Council Members Keith Powers, Gale A. Brewer, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Oswald Feliz, Marjorie Velázquez, Tiffany Cabán, Farah N. Louis, Shaun Abreu, Shahana K. Hanif, Carmen N. De La Rosa, Lincoln Restler, Crystal Hudson, Justin L. Brannan, Julie Menin, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Mercedes Narcisse, James F. Gennaro, Nantasha M. Williams, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Shekar Krishnan, Kamillah Hanks, Robert F. Holden, Diana I. Ayala, Sandra Ung, Kevin C. Riley, Alexa Avilés, Sandy Nurse, Lynn C. Schulman, Vickie Paladino, Inna Vernikov, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, (in conjunction with the Brooklyn Borough President)
REBNY supports Intro 949 and its pragmatic approach to providing the public with new, safe lithium-ion batteries for their personal mobility devices. It is widely believed that older, damaged, or rebuilt batteries are largely implicated in the E-battery-related fires that are becoming more frequent, with significant damage to property and even loss of life.
REBNY believes that the establishment of a battery exchange program could be effective in removing dangerous, potentially uncertified used batteries from the public. An exchange program is also best suited to ensure that those who most rely on personal mobility devices like e-bikes for work, notably delivery drivers. In addition, the establishment of such a program creates a ‘carrot’ in lieu of a ‘stick’. Considering that enforcement against faulty batteries is very challenging, particularly for property owners, opportunities to alleviate hazardous conditions in lieu of requirements to comply is a good initial step.
Bill: Intro 950-2023
Subject: This bill would require businesses that use motor-assisted bikes for commercial purposes to provide users of such bikes with fire-proof or fire-resistant containers in which they could charge their removable electronic batteries. This requirement would only apply to bikes with removable batteries that are not entirely charged at the place of business.
Sponsors: Keith Powers, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Gale A. Brewer, Oswald Feliz, Marjorie Velázquez, Tiffany Cabán, Farah N. Louis, Shaun Abreu, Shahana K. Hanif, Carmen N. De La Rosa, Lincoln Restler, Crystal Hudson, Justin L. Brannan, Julie Menin, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Mercedes Narcisse, Nantasha M. Williams, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Shekar Krishnan, Kamillah Hanks, Robert F. Holden, Diana I. Ayala, Sandra Ung, Kevin C. Riley, Alexa Avilés, Sandy Nurse, Lynn C. Schulman, Vickie Paladino, Inna Vernikov, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
REBNY supports this legislation, provided that the equipment mandated is readily available and can be purchased at a reasonable cost. REBNY also recommends that motor-assisted bikes used for commercial purposes be required to use batteries certified and marked by a nationally recognized testing company. Taken together, these measures could help reduce fire-related hazards associated with commercially used E-bikes and their batteries.
We thank the Committee for holding this hearing and look forward to working with you on these very important matters.