E-bike batteries: environmental and safety aspects

The ZIV has been highly committed to both safety in the use of e-bike batteries and environmental aspects relating to the return and recycling of batteries since the very start of the e-bike success story. Close cooperation between the bicycle industry and institutions on the German and European levels have enabled the highest safety standards to be set from the outset. This is essential given the high energy density of e-bike batteries as well as the high loads they are subjected to during daily use.

The ZIV already established a system for the return and recycling of e-bike batteries together with GRS GmbH (Gemeinsames Rücknahmesystem Servicegesellschaft mbH), the manufacturers and bicycle retailers back in 2010.
Strict requirements for maximum safety
The safety regulations prescribed by the EU ensure that battery fires remain the absolute exception and are practically non-existent when batteries are used properly. According to experts, in the vast majority of cases damage is caused by negligent, improper handling or tampering. The ZIV and the leading manufacturers belonging to the association are monitoring the situation very closely, as are institutions and experts. Extensive measures are being taken to ensure maximum safety; these include informing and training users.
E-bikes far more environmentally friendly than widely thought
The question of the environmental footprint of e-bikes is often raised – and rightly so. According to the extensive information available on this topic, among others from the German Environment Agency, e-bikes increase the opportunities to cycle rather than use a car. Good to know: Motor assistance is a real enabler in many situations – in everyday life and for commuters as well as for leisure and delivery services and couriers.


Longer distances and hilly terrain are no longer a problem and particularly cargo bikes are becoming ever more attractive. After purely muscle-powered bicycles, e-bikes count among the most efficient and environmentally-friendly modes of transport. The German Environment Agency has calculated that e-bikes are «more than 12 times more climate-friendly than cars».
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For a long battery life and safe, environmentally-friendly disposal

E-bike batteries have a long service life – according to the manufacturer’s specifications, it is not uncommon for them to last more than ten years with the right care. Just like other batteries such as those used in smartphones and laptops, e-bike batteries lose power or experience usage problems over time. Established manufacturers with high-quality products continue to offer replacement batteries for many years after an e-bike has been purchased. Meaning that the e-bike will run like new again, or even gain in performance due to technical advances in the battery technology. This is also sustainability.

When e-bike batteries are no longer used or are defective, it is important to not just leave them in the cellar or dispose of them in the household waste. Rather, they should be disposed of properly without delay. The ZIV has worked with the bicycle industry and GRS GmbH to establish a system for this. Specialist e-bike retailers are required to take rechargeable batteries back free of charge. They are then recycled – allowing valuable raw materials to be recovered. Care must be taken when handling batteries with a damaged outer casing, for example cracks or dents. The specialist retailer should be informed immediately should this be the case – they have the necessary expertise and technical equipment to handle these.