Examining the Fire Safety Hazards of Lithium-ion Battery Powered e-Mobility Devices in Homes
E-bike, e-scooter and other e-mobility devices have become common modes of transportation. These devices are often powered by lithium-ion batteries due to their favorable combination of low weight and high energy density. If these batteries fail, they have the potential to catch fire and cause explosions.
To better understand these failures, UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has initiated a research project in partnership with the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). This project studies and seeks to answer the following questions through conducting experiments in both laboratory and residential test structure settings using carefully designed and placed instrumentation:
- How does a common e-scooter battery fail when exposed to different thermal runaway initiation methods (i.e. overcharge, external heating)?
- Are there differences in battery failure behavior for thermal runaway initiated by external heating versus overcharge?
- What fire dynamics result from an e-scooter that is overcharged into thermal runaway?
Are there differences between an e-scooter fire in a bedroom with the door closed and an e-scooter fire in a living room open to the remainder of the home?
- If occupants are in the home, what thermal and gas concentration exposure will they experience?
Are there considerations for the public or fire service because of these experiments?