Lithium bike battery

Watching many a lithium battery burn down homes, I feel the community have not been fully explained the dangers of these batteries. I’m curious of the life span, my e-bike is now 4 years old, I m aware to recharge & then turn off, yet lithium energy is unknown, how to tell when the battery is needing replacement, what parameters will cause leakage, heat, cold, location? It’s very unclear, what’s your thoughts?

Choice did a review

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This is also good information about what has been causing the fires and how to avoid them:

According to Dr Best, the cause of thermal runaway isn’t related to the battery necessarily, but the products containing them.

“What happens is that secondary vendors will purchase those [batteries] and then package them up in their own way,” Dr Best said.

One issue is varying qualities of battery management systems, the system in a product that “regulates the voltage and current current and other safe features” related to the battery.

Dr Best says when a lithium-ion battery goes into thermal runaway, the cause isn’t typically the battery’s quality, but the quality of the product it’s in.

One common feature in these systems is temperature management, which prevents charging if the battery is too hot.

“There are some products where those features are not connected, such that when you try and plug a charger in, it just charges anyway, even if that’s an unsafe condition,” Dr Best said.

“That’s because to add those features sometimes costs money.”

… “What we do encourage consumers to do is not necessarily buy the cheapest product [and to] think about making sure you’ve always got [Original Equipment Manufacturer] provided chargers and charging cables.”

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A short answer is the level of risk increases with lesser quality products.

Hopefully, your e-bike is a quality product and safe charging practices are followed. Looking to the internet for battery fires involving your brand of e-bike might alert one to any potential risks.

To consider lithium rechargeable batteries have been with us for more than 20 years. In mobile phones and devices, laptops, cordless power tools, stick vacuums, …… and now Rideables including e-bikes, scooters etc.

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I wonder if we are being given information about battery fires outside the statistics for all fires in homes/buildings, and that this is causing increased anxiety. Many homes catch fire for a number of reasons e.g. electrical failures such as electric heaters or wiring faults, candles, matches, gas heaters, wood heaters. Among these numbers battery fires do occur but they may be being sensationally over reported.

Of the approximately 17,000 household fires a year in Australia roughly 1,000 involve lithium batteries and often because they are using the wrong charging equipment, though a damaged battery is dangerous if the contents come in contact with air. Every year around 1.5% of lithium batteries catch on fire, explode, or are involved in overheating incidents (so not all are fire incidents) and most reasons are due to external factors.

https://gitnux.org/lithium-ion-battery-fire-statistics/#:~:text=Every%20year%2C%201.5%25%20of%20lithium,overcharge%2C%20and%20over-discharge.

Around 44% of household fires occur in the kitchen and dining room (Qld Emergency Services). Common reason for fires are cigarettes, candles, and heaters (NSW Fire and Rescue).



“QUEENSLAND HOUSE FIRES

From 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021

829 House Fire Call outs across the state.

44.0% of fires started in the Kitchen and Dining Room area.

11.5% of fires started in the Sleeping are6.5% of fires started in the Lounge Room.

5.2% of fires started in the Garage.

4.4% of fires started in the Laundry.

28.4% of fires started in other areas of the home.”

Being aware of the risks, using only the approved chargers, buying only reputable goods, inspecting for damage regularly are all things we should be doing. These steps are necessary in all the products/goods we use in our homes regardless of whether they contain lithium batteries or not as there are lots of other common reasons for house fires and injuries from using unsafe or damaged goods.

Lifetime of lithium batteries is variable based on how they are used. If they are drained completely and then recharged to 100% constantly they will only last around a couple of years most likely. If they are recharged when they fall to about 30% (less discharge is better) and charged to about 80% they can last a significant number of years (10 years is not unheard of), if charged to 100% this may only be 5 or 6 years before capacity falls significantly.

Most chargers which are the approved charger for a device are smart rechargers and after a battery reaches around 80% capacity the rest of the charge is done by trickle recharging so that lithium dendrite formation is vastly reduced (major cause of reduced capacity of lithium batteries). If a smart charger is used it is usually unnecessary to turn it off, it will maintain the charge at the level set and not overcharge the device, if not a smart recharger then it is important to turn it off and unplug it after charging is complete. Tesla wall batteries are expected to have 80% capacity left at around 8 to 10 years as are the batteries in Tesla cars because of the way they recharge and discharge and maintain battery health.

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Good points! I’d just add “correctly disposing of all types of batteries”.

NO type of battery belongs in either general waste or mixed-recycling bins, people. Putting a lithium battery in one of those risks a large fire that can destroy the waste collection truck or recycling centre. But other batteries are considered hazardous waste and shouldn’t go in these bins, either.

Check your local government’s website for information about battery waste management. From the ACT government: Batteries (household) - Recyclopaedia.

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