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Kuzma Vladimirov
Kuzma Vladimirov

Here’s Why Batteries Have Started Catching Fire So Often These Days 'LINK'

All our lives we have relied on batteries in everything from mobile phones and cars to hand torches, but confidence in the technology has deteriorated of late. Many airline passengers have had to surrender their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones in recent weeks because their batteries are considered a fire risk, while those left in baggage holds have delayed aircraft and caused angst to travellers.

Here’s Why Batteries Have Started Catching Fire So Often These Days


These batteries were supposedly the remedy for a previous design that saw 2.5m units recalled in September when they too were deemed a fire risk. Other mobile phone batteries have also been ignition-prone.

From a consumer point of view, there a couple of possible answers: accept shorter battery lives and recharge your device more often; or adopt my principle of being a late adopter of frontier technologies. At least being a late adopter only means waiting about six months these days.

But there have been a few fires, like the one in Shanghai, in which the battery did not appear to be damaged. These fires are strange even to those who have focused on preparing for an electric-vehicle revolution.

The arrival of lithium-ion batteries on the road is a unique challenge for rescue experts, who have ramped up efforts to teach first responders around the world the best practices for fighting lithium-ion-battery fires.

To be fair, Tesla is not the only company that has dealt with stationary cars catching on fire. In 2017, BMW recalled a million cars with defective PCV valve heaters and blower motor system connectors after ABC did an investigation into mysterious fires starting in parked BMWs that would sometimes reignite days after being put out.

You may have heard that e-cigarettes, or vapes, can catch on fire or explode and seriously hurt people. Although these incidents appear uncommon, vape fires and explosions are dangerous to the person using the vaping product and others around them. There may be added dangers, for example, if a vape battery catches fire or explodes near flammable gasses or liquids, such as oxygen, propane, or gasoline.

Electric vehicles that were flooded and damaged by the storm have been catching fire without warning in incidents throughout the hardest hit areas in the state, according to State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, who told ABC News his team has counted at least nine such incidents. In some cases, the EVs would burst into flames, stay on fire, then reignite hours later.

\"Part of what we're dealing with right now is that this is the first major storm that we've had in an area where we have a high penetration of electric vehicles. So we're seeing these fires in these incidents more than we have with any of the other storms,\" he said.

Saltwater flooding is the main factor behind these fires, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The flooding creates a chain reaction in the engine and the batteries that made the parts more likely to catch on fire, the agency said.

The Galaxy Note 7 certainly isn't the first phone to catch on fire, or even the first giant recall. By 2004, a spike in cell phone battery explosions prompted this CNET article. In 2009, Nokia recalled 46 million phone batteries that were at risk of short-circuiting. Exploding phones have even allegedly killed people.

But these Note 7 phones didn't explode right away. In practically every reported instance of a Note 7 catching fire or exploding, it happened after the phone was plugged in and left charging, sometimes overnight.

"My guess is by backing off to 60 percent charge, they'll be well below the threshold where these things happen," says Sadoway. "Imagine we're trying to fill our gas tank, we don't have a really good regulator, and we don't want to spill the gas all over our shoes. We want to make sure we're cutting off the flow well before this thing gets to overflow conditions."

As the popularity of electric bikes has grown, so have the potential safety concerns. Lithium-ion batteries are a good option for e-bike batteries because they can store a lot of energy in a small amount of space, but they can be fickle too. Reports of fires ignited by exploding e-bike batteries have grown across the country, prompting warnings by fire departments and new user education.

Lithium-ion batteries or li-ion batteries (sometimes called LIBs) are the lightweight, rechargeable batteries that power our phones, laptops and cameras. They're found in many electrical devices from mobility scooters to e-cigarettes, and are used safely by millions of people every day. However, there are some things you need to know when it comes to fire safety, chargers and batteries.

After a recent Tesla crash, firefighters spent five hours battling the resulting vehicle fire. The firefighters put out the flames and sent the car to an impound lot, where the car reignited. Five days later, the car burst into flames again.

Electric vehicles run on high-voltage lithium ion batteries, which can result in dangerously high temperatures if these cars catch fire. Emergency responders are also at risk of electric shock from damaged lithium batteries when handling electric vehicles that catch fire.

Regular gas or diesel-powered vehicles come in second, with only 25 BEVs outselling 100,000 in 2021. A fire hazard associated with the batteries used in over 150,000 BEVs was reason enough for Hyundai and Chevrolet to recall those vehicles in the last decade. In contrast to the number of cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) that were recalled in 2021 due to the potential of electric shorting, manufacturers recalled a total of roughly 1.14 million gas-powered cars. Cars with hybrid or all-electric powertrains, including 240,053 BEVs were sold in the United States in 2020. New car retail sales totaled 3.4 million units during the same period. They are relatively more prone to catching fire when compared to BEVs.

In conclusion, cars powered with gasoline/diesel are most likely to catch fire. The Hybrids come second and BEVs are at the end of the list. Now you might have some FAQs on your mind that might pester your peace with respect to this unfortunate incident. Fret not, people at Way are here to help.

In the event of an accident, defective fuel lines are prone to bursting. It is possible to start a raging fire from a small leak as an aftereffect of single spark ignition. Sparks and superheated metal can ignite flammable materials (fuel, oil) that have leaked. The fact that a car contains flammable materials other than gasoline is a surprise to many people. Fires caused by leaking gasoline often begin under a vehicle or on the street below and quickly spread.

A faulty battery can also be a solid reason for your car catching fire. The terminals of a battery will corrode, which is highly flammable if the battery has manufacturing defects. There is also the possibility of airbags exploding.

Three major U.S. airlines have announced new restrictions on "smart luggage" because of the fire hazard posed by lithium-ion batteries in cargo holds. The airlines say any such batteries need to be removable. Rob Carr/Getty Images hide caption

Prices can range from $275 to more than $1,000, depending on a bag's bells and whistles, like device charging, GPS tracking, remote locking and built-in weight sensors. But these features require power, often in the form of lithium-ion batteries.

The batteries are in many electronics these days, because they are extremely efficient. But Li-ion batteries have the potential to overheat and ignite, as shown in dramatic fashion by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which the Department of Transportation banned from flights last fall after dozens of reports of the smartphone's batteries smoking, catching fire and exploding. In 2015, many airlines banned hoverboards owing to similar concerns.

A spokesman for American tells NPR that rules banning the bags' powerful lithium batteries from checked baggage aren't because they're more likely to catch fire in a cargo hold, but because it's hard to fight a fire that breaks out there.

"You have very limited options in the cargo hold," American spokesman Ross Feinstein says. If a fire starts there, the crew can use fire suppression bottles to fight it, "but you can only deploy them once."


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