BC Fire and Rescue Services is currently issuing a warning to citizens to be careful when charging any lithium/ion battery. Battery-related fires have increased fivefold since 2016.
The warning applies not just to electric cars, but also to smaller devices, like everything from cell phones, headphones and watches to electric bicycles and scooters.
The number of battery-related fires has increased fivefold in just six years. This figure may seem surprising, especially since lithium-ion batteries are technically safer and less likely to fail today than ten years ago.
This increase is really just a numbers game: the number of devices using batteries as a power source – rather than being powered by a wall cord – is increasing, and the more batteries you use, the higher the risk.
The popularity of battery-powered drones in recent years alone has largely contributed to more and more high-capacity lithium-ion batteries being stored and charged in homes around the world.
According to an article in Canadian Global News, Capt. Matthew Trudeau, spokesman for the Vancouver fire department, said the majority of fires were linked to batteries from electric bikes, scooters and cell phones, although battery fires laptops and other devices were also registered. The problem is by no means unique to Canada: According to the article, in October, Consumer Reports found that there were 75 electric bicycle fires in New York City in 2021 alone, resulting in 72 injuries and three deaths. Evening Standard reports that there were at least 130 similar battery fires in London last year.
Even though thermal events in these types of batteries are statistically unusual, when a fire occurs the thermal development can, in the worst case, be very rapid, sometimes even explosive in nature. However, a battery that is about to experience a thermal event can often give you some warning signs, such as swelling, a bad odor, unusual heat, or even a clicking noise when more than normal gassing occurs. is about to happen.
Lithium-ion batteries, when fully ignited, typically burn very hot and can also pose other health risks due to toxic gases escaping from the batteries during and after the thermal event. It is important, however, not to be afraid of the technology itself, but to familiarize yourself with some of the warning signs that a battery is about to fail, and to know the “do’s and don’ts”. not do” to reload them. Cover photo: In order to test the safety of Li-ion batteries, an 18650 cell was exposed to the force of a hammer, resulting in an explosion. Still from the video clip below, dated August 27, 2019.