Spring Singapore uncovers 6 e-scooter suppliers selling unregistered charging adaptors; seizes 175 adaptors

An unregistered charging adaptor.
An unregistered charging adaptor.PHOTO: SPRING SINGAPORE
An unregistered fast-charging adaptor.
An unregistered fast-charging adaptor. PHOTO: SPRING SINGAPORE
A sample of an unregistered charging adaptor (left) and a sample of an unregistered fast-charging adaptor.
A sample of an unregistered charging adaptor (left) and a sample of an unregistered fast-charging adaptor.PHOTO: SPRING SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Six electric scooter suppliers here were found to be selling unregistered charging adaptors, which experts say can pose fire risks.

Spring Singapore named the suppliers in a statement on Friday (Dec 29), following a two-month market surveillance. They are: CarbonRevo, Emarco Enterprise, Escoot.sg, Falcon PEV, Minimotors - Maxtech Plus and Skateline SkateSchool.

Spring said in its statement that while surveilling businesses over the past two months, it seized 175 unregistered charging adaptors.

It found two common types of adaptors - those packaged with e-scooters, and fast-charging adaptors that reduce the charging time of e-scooter batteries.

"These unregistered charging adaptors were not tested for the required safety standards that addresses common electrical hazards, which may cause electrocution and short circuit resulting in a fire," Spring said in the statement, which was written jointly with the Land Transport Authority and Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

Last month, e-scooters caught fire in two separate incidents in Pasir Ris and Yishun.

  • Tips to ensure your charging adaptor is safe

  • - Buy personal mobility devices (PMDs) from reputable stores

    - Make sure the adaptors have a valid safety mark

    - Do not buy third-party adaptors and chargers that are not from the original suppliers

    - Do not overcharge batteries, like charging overnight, as some PMDs and adaptors cannot cut off power automatically

    - Avoid charging batteries immediately after using your PMD

    - Avoid wetting your PMD, either by riding them in the rain or exposing electrical components to water, as this could damage the battery

    - Get retailers to replace faulty batteries. Do not try doing it yourself

    - Store PMDs away from direct heat sources like direct sunlight, and from combustible materials

In the Yishun case, a man was hospitalised in the intensive care unit with second-degree burns.

Figures by the Singapore Civil Defence Force showed that there were 31 fires involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) from January to September this year (2017), compared to 19 cases over the same period last year.

There are three ways in which unregistered charging adaptors can cause fires, according to Singapore Institute of Technology engineering professor Tseng King Jet.
 
First, they may overheat during charging and catch fire because of inferior components or being badly designed. Second, short circuits may occur inside or along the charging cable, again resulting in fires. Third, the adaptor might apply an excessive charging current to the batteries, causing them to overheat and burn.
“Besides the above-mentioned three fire risks, unregistered charging adaptors may also pose the danger of electrocution to users,” said Prof Tseng.
 

In addition, Spring also found some suppliers providing modification services for e-scooters, including changing the battery capacity, or the speed of the device by changing the motor.

The agency warned that modifying an e-scooter's electrical components could be risky as they could affect the overall circuitry of the device and lead to incompatible electrical parts short circuiting.

Spring said that charging adaptors must be tested and certified to meet safety standards, registered with Spring and have a safety mark, before being sold. The agency said all PMD suppliers must only sell approved charging adaptors with the safety mark, and that it would not hesitate to act against those who flout the rules.

 

Lastly, it said that users who have purchased PMD charging adaptors without the safety mark should immediately stop using them, and contact their suppliers for help.

Chairman of e-scooter enthusiast group Big Wheel Scooters Singapore, Mr Denis Koh, said: "From a user's standpoint it's good that the authorities have begun to take action. Seizing sends a stern message to retailers to ensure that whatever they're selling complies with the rules."

People who want to take action against suppliers who sold them unregistered charging adaptors can approach Case on 6100 0315 or www.case.org.sg/contactus.aspx.

To report cases of suppliers selling unregistered charging adaptors, the public can alert Spring at safety@spring.gov.sg.

Anyone convicted of selling unregistered controlled goods may face a maximum fine of $10,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or both.