All batteries, whether used in electric rideables or otherwise, have inherent safety risks that include fire, explosion, electrical shock or exposure to harmful chemicals. Misuse or abuse dramatically increases these risks.
You may have read or heard in the media recently about some 2-wheel self-balancing scooters exploding or catching on fire. That is definitely a possibility, but only with very cheaply made Li-ion batteries. Read on to learn more!
Lithium ion cells hold twice the energy of a nickel-based battery and four-times that of lead acid and can do so in a much smaller and lighter form factor. Li-ion is a low maintenance technology, an advantage that most other battery chemistries cannot claim. However, the risks do exist, particularly if the chemistry used is of low quality.
When Sony released the first commercial Li-ion battery in 1991, they knew of the potential safety risks. An alarming reminder of those risks occurred in 2006 when approximately 10 million Sony batteries used in Dell, Sony, Apple, Lenovo, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Sharp laptops were recalled because the batteries were found to be susceptible to internal contamination, which could cause a dangerous short-circuit. In August 2007 mobile phone manufacturer Nokia recalled over 46 million batteries due to the risk of overheating and exploding.
Chemistry is the driving force behind the magic of batteries and when it comes to battery safety, it's all about the chemistry—and that's where the problem begins!
It is estimated that there are over 100 companies making Lithium batteries in China. China has some of the best battery manufacturing plants in the world, turning out excellent products, but it also has some of the worst. There are a lot of inexpensive (cheap) Li-ion batteries being made in under-qualified factories that are ineffective (or downright dangerous) because those factories don't care about decent chemistry. How do you tell the difference? Well, you really can't. The best bet is to buy only products with "brand name" batteries.
All electric rideable products sold here in the ElectricRideables.com store come from reputable companies who use brand-name batteries. High quality name brand batteries do cost a little more, but they are well worth it. After all, do you really want to run the risk of an explosion or a fire?
Safety Features and Guidelines
Many batteries built into electric rideables also include features designed to increase their safety. These features may include redundant fail-safe chips designed to shut off the battery in the event of a short circuit, overcharge/overheat protection, and low-voltage protection.
However, these safety features should NEVER be relied upon in lieu of proper safe usage, handling and storage procedures. We recommend that you adhere to the following safety guidelines and always exercise common sense to avoid harm to your property, yourself or others:
- Only use battery chargers authorized for the specific electric rideable you own.
- Use a dedicated power source capable of supplying adequate power for charging.
- Unplug your battery once it is fully charged. Excessive heat produced during charging can lead to failure. DO NOT overcharge your battery.
- NEVER leave a charging battery unattended.
- Never charge a battery in direct sunlight or extreme heat.
- DO NOT operate your electric rideable if the battery becomes hot to the touch. Let it cool down to a safe temperature before using it again.
- Always keep electric rideable batteries in cool, dry surroundings.
- DO NOT store batteries in hot or humid places. NEVER leave your battery in a place that it could become excessively hot, such as direct sunlight or inside of a parked car.
- Do not leave a battery out where children or pets may have access to it.
- Dropping a battery can damage it, even though it may appear to be working properly. Be especially cautious with any battery that has been dropped.
- DO NOT puncture the battery housing.
- DO NOT dismantle a battery.
- Always ensure that your electric rideable is turned OFF when not in use. This will help prevent misfire and possible overheating of the battery.
- DO NOT put batteries into a fire.
- DO NOT put batteries in the trash.
- Dispose of batteries by taking them to a proper recycling or disposal facility.