6 found selling unregistered PMD chargers

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

Spring Singapore named the suppliers in a statement yesterday, following a two-month market surveillance. They are CarbonRevo, Emarco Enterprise, Escoot.sg, Falcon PEV, Minimotors - Maxtech Plus and Skateline SkateSchool.

Spring said it seized 175 unregistered charging adaptors in the course of its surveillance.

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 a short circuit, resulting in a fire," Spring said in a joint statement 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.

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

  • How to make sure your adaptor is safe for use

  • To lower the risk of your e-scooter catching fire, ensure that your charging adaptor is safe for use. Here are some tips:

    • 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.

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

There are three ways in which unregistered charging adaptors can cause fires, said Professor Tseng King Jet, an engineering professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology.

First, they can overheat during charging and catch fire because of inferior components or bad design.

Second, a short circuit can occur inside or along the charging cable.

Third, the adaptor could apply an excessive charging current to the batteries, causing them to overheat and burn.

"Unregistered charging adaptors may also pose the danger of electrocution to users," said Prof Tseng.

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 this could affect the overall circuitry of the device and lead to a short circuit.

Spring said that charging adaptors must be tested and certified to meet safety standards, be 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.

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

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

Those who want to take action against suppliers who have sold them unregistered charging adaptors can contact Case on 6100-0315 or go to www.case.org.sg/contactus.aspx.

To report cases of suppliers selling unregistered charging adaptors, the public can e-mail 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.

JOSE HONG,NG HUIWEN
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