Issues pertaining to hoverboard malfunctions continue, as more than 500,000 of the balancing scooters are being recalled due to a risk of fire and/or explosions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall Wednesday, and added that many hoverboard devices which were not included in the recall should be discarded for consumers’ safety.
“There have been at least 99 incident reports of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding,” the CPSC told NPR. All of the recalled devices were sold within the last year, and ranged in price from $350 to $900. The CPSC has advised consumers who own a recalled hoverboard to stop using it immediately, and reach out to the manufacturer or retailer for a refund, repair or replacement, depending on what the company is offering.
CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye is instructing consumers who don’t see their device on the list to “contact the manufacturer or retailer and demand that they give you your money back.” Kaye adds in a statement that unless the manufacturer can show that the device has been certified as safe by Underwriters Laboratories, it should be considered “a fire hazard waiting to happen.”
“a fire hazard waiting to happen...”
So what is causing all of these fires and explosions? Jay Whitacre of Carnegie Mellon University explained that lithium-ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte in them. Whitacre states:
“I think a lot of (hoverboard makers (are using second-tier battery sources, which are going to have probably a higher rate of defects. These things have more lithium-ion batteries in them than most things because they’re used to move you around. It takes more batteries to get you the power…to do that and as such there’s just more energy in a small space. And so if something does go wrong, it’s a bit more catastrophic.”
Whitacre advised consumers not to overcharge their hoverboard’s battery, and to never charge or use them indoors.
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