E-scooter fires have become an increasingly alarming problem as the popularity of electric scooters grows. These concerning blazes have destroyed homes, and vehicles, and injured many riders when faulty batteries have combusted unexpectedly. However, there are important measures that responsible battery manufacturers take during the design and production processes to help prevent e-scooter fires from occurring. Researchers, legislators, and safety authorities are actively investigating and implementing measures to address the issue. In this blog, we’ll explore the specific methods that conscientious manufacturers implement to mitigate the risk of destructive and dangerous e-scooter fires. From cell balancing technologies to improved quality control standards, we’ll review the impactful safety precautions applied during intelligent battery design. By understanding these vital techniques to avoid thermal runaway situations, e-scooter owners can have greater confidence in selecting reliable batteries that significantly reduce the likelihood of traumatic fires.
E-Bike and E-scooter Fires Statistics
The number of battery fires of e-bikes and scooters appears to be rapidly increasing in recent years. Major cities like New York and London are seeing fires caused by e-bikes on an almost daily basis in 2023. These fires have resulted in many injuries, with at least 190 people in the UK harmed recently. Compared to 2020, the report shows that the UK saw a 149% rise in e-bike and e-scooter fires by 2022. Fires are not limited to consumers’ homes and storage either, as demonstrated by multiple warehouse fires at an e-bike manufacturer in the Netherlands. More must be done to address what seems to be a growing safety issue with electric bicycles and their charging systems. Governments may need to implement stricter regulations and manufacturing standards, while consumers should educate themselves on proper charging and storage procedures. Without interventions, e-bike fires and associated injuries are likely to continue trending upwards.
Why Do E-bikes and E-scooter Batteries Easily Catch Fire?
High Capacity and Energy Density
Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of punch in a small package. Their high energy density allows e-bike and scooter makers to achieve extended range from a compact battery. However, this benefit comes with safety risks. Under certain failure triggers like overcharging or crashes, a dense lithium battery can release its copious stored power uncontrollably. This rapid energy dump overwhelms safeguards, causing battery overheating and potential thermal runaway. Packing more energy into lithium cells lets e-bikes roam farther, but also gives more fuel to battery fires if designs neglect key safety factors.
Demanding Operating Conditions
E-bikes and scooters often operate in challenging environments. High currents during acceleration, vibrations during riding, and exposure to various weather conditions can stress the battery. These demanding conditions may contribute to wear and tear, increasing the risk of internal faults, short circuits, and other issues that can result in thermal runaway and fire.
Lack of Ventilation and Cooling
Efficient cooling is crucial to maintaining the optimal temperature of batteries. Without proper ventilation and cooling mechanisms, the batteries may experience overheating during prolonged or intense use. This lack of thermal management can accelerate the aging of the battery and increase the likelihood of thermal events.
Cheaper Manufacturing and Reduced Safety Considerations:
In some cases, manufacturers may prioritize cost-cutting measures during the production of e-bikes and scooters, including the batteries. This can lead to compromises in the quality of materials, manufacturing processes, and safety features. Reduced safety considerations may result in less robust protection mechanisms, making the battery more susceptible to issues that could lead to a fire.
Manufacturers, regulators, and users need to be aware of these factors and work collaboratively to implement and follow safety standards, conduct regular maintenance, and promote responsible usage practices to minimize the risks associated with battery fires in e-bikes and scooters.
How Battery Manufacturers Avoid E-bike and E-scooter Battery Fires?
I. Design Safe Battery Chemistry Configurations
Battery manufacturers focus on designing safe battery chemistry configurations to minimize the risk of fires in e-scooters. This involves selecting and optimizing the materials used in the battery cells, including the cathode, anode, and electrolyte. By choosing stable and reliable materials, manufacturers can enhance the overall safety of the battery. Additionally, they may explore alternative battery chemistries that are inherently more resistant to thermal runaway, such as solid-state batteries. For
- Selection of stable electrode materials to reduce the likelihood of internal short circuits.
- Exploration of alternative chemistries that inherently provide better thermal stability.
- Optimization of the electrolyte composition to enhance safety without compromising performance.
II. Build In Effective Safeguard Components
Battery manufacturers incorporate safeguard components into the battery design to prevent and mitigate potential issues. A crucial component is the Battery Management System (BMS), which monitors and manages various parameters, such as voltage, temperature, and current. The BMS plays a key role in preventing overcharging, over-discharging, and maintaining balanced cell voltages, reducing the risk of thermal events.
- Implementation of overcharge and over-discharge protection circuits within the BMS.
- Inclusion of thermal sensors to monitor and respond to temperature variations.
- Use of cell balancing mechanisms to ensure uniform charge distribution among cells.
III. Utilize Rigorous Testing and Safety Checks
Battery manufacturers subject their products to extensive testing and safety checks throughout the production process. This includes individual cell testing, module testing, and system-level testing to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. Rigorous testing helps ensure that the batteries meet or exceed industry safety standards and can withstand a range of operating conditions.
- Performance of stress tests to simulate extreme conditions and evaluate the battery’s response.
- Compliance with international safety standards, such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards.
- Quality control measures to detect and address manufacturing defects before batteries are integrated into e-scooters.
IV. Make Hardware Safety-Focused
Hardware design plays a critical role in preventing e-scooter fires. Manufacturers design hardware components with a focus on safety, considering factors such as heat dissipation, physical protection, and durability. Enclosures and casings are designed to contain potential thermal events and prevent external elements from compromising the battery’s integrity.
- Incorporation of robust casing materials that resist impact and protect against external factors.
- Design of heat dissipation mechanisms, such as heat sinks or thermal pads, to manage temperature effectively.
- Integration of physical barriers within the battery pack to minimize the spread of thermal events.
By combining these strategies, battery manufacturers can significantly reduce the risk of e-scooter fires, ensuring a safer and more reliable experience for users.
What MOKOEnergy Can Do to Help Reducing Battery Fires?
As a BMS OEM & ODM manufacturer, MOKOEnergy can play a vital role in helping reduce e-scooter battery fires through rigorous safety testing, advanced BMS algorithms, and safer component selection. With our battery management expertise, rigorous validation, and customizable systems, MOKOEnergy empowers e-scooter battery manufacturers to achieve complete battery safety confidence and world-class quality, thus reducing battery fires at the source.