Earlier today, on a passenger flight awaiting takeoff in Barcelona, a lithium ion (Li-ion) battery pack being used to charge a cell phone exploded into flames. Fortunately, the plane was evacuated safely. But as this NBC Nightly News report explains, this was just the latest in a string of incidents involving Li-ion batteries:
A little over a year ago Tom Bagley, Vice President of Engineering at Jaco, blogged about an FDA warning on fire risks of medical devices powered by Li-ion and lead acid batteries, and explained why lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are far safer.
The message bears repeating: Li-ion and lead acid batteries are vulnerable to thermal runaway, a condition that can lead to combustion. LiFePO4 batteries are NOT vulnerable to thermal runaway.
Yes, Jaco uses only LiFePO4 batteries in its on-board or hot-swap powered carts. Yes, we pioneered LiFePO4 hot-swap. And yes, we would be thrilled if you purchased our powered carts instead of a competitor's.
But we'll sleep better - and so will you - if you replace any Li-ion cart batteries with safer LiFePO4 alternatives, no matter who you buy them from. We don't want to see you in the news for the wrong reason.
Matt Rossini is Vice President of Marketing at Jaco.