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.