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JOCO in New York City is an e-bike sharing program exclusively for couriers and delivery people. JOCO has dozens of bike stations throughout Manhattan where riders can charge, pick up or drop off an e-bike when needed without having to own, maintain and store their own bike.

Storing lithium-ion batteries safely can be challenging and New York City is the first jurisdiction to enact fire codes for e-bike storage and charging in 2022 after many fatal fire events due to batteries overheating or catching fire. Lithium-ion battery fires can spread quickly in a chain reaction and are incredibly difficult to extinguish. Compliance with the new fire code includes implementation of sprinklers and fire detection and barriers components, as well as limiting the total amount of batteries on-site if an approved battery charging cabinet is not used.

These cabinets are not readily available due to the need for testing before the FDNY to approve them. Jensen Hughes has been able to get one of only two available cabinets approved due to our work with the help of a third-party laboratory. The founders of JOCO decided to develop their own fireproof cabinet that they use for their charging stations and our Risk and Hazards experts created testing methods to prove that these cabinets would be safe to use.

While a fire from a failing battery is not preventable, the fireproof cabinet can stop or slow the spread of fire, smoke or hazardous projectiles from venting cells in order for sprinklers to kick in, for the area to be evacuated and for firefighters to extinguish the fire. Our testing was concerned with propagation resistance and cell containment of the lithium-ion batteries. UL 9540A, which deals with the same issues for stationary energy storage systems, was referenced in our proprietary testing.

JOCO is only the second company approved by the FDNY with a “Letter of No Objection”. They also market the cabinets to delivery services such as Grubhub as well as building owners with residential or commercial tenants who need e-bike charging capability. Safety training is provided for employees to use the cabinet and when its doors are shut everything is contained within even in the event of fire or explosion.

We are glad to be a part of making this sustainable technology safer and more available. JOCO founder Jonathan Cohen commented, “Collaborating with the skilled team at Jensen Hughes has been a truly enjoyable experience for JOCO. JH’s expertise in fire protection engineering proved invaluable as we tested and developed our fireproof lithium-ion battery charging cabinet. Negotiating the intricate regulations in NYC was made considerably smoother with their guidance, and their team’s professionalism and collaborative spirit were a pleasure throughout the entire process. JOCO appreciates the seamless teamwork and expertise provided by Jensen Hughes, making our joint efforts not only productive but also enjoyable.”

Project Details

Project Location

New York, NY, USA

Project Owner

JOCO

Client

JOCO

Timeline

2023

Industry
Commercial
Services Provided
Lithium-ion Battery Technology

Featured Experts

BNE, Nuclear Engineering, MS, Engineering

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Kurt Ruchala

Senior Director + Market Leader

MS, Fire Protection Engineering, BS, Mechanical Engineering, Registered PE: CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT,

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