Q&A: Hoverboards and Battery Safety

Question: I’ve been reading about these electric “hoverboard” scooters catching fire. Should I worry about my Pedego Electric Bike?

Answer: Fortunately there are some very important differences in the technology used in Pedego bikes and those used in “hoverboards” or “scooter boards.”

battery-stackThe main difference is battery quality. Pedego uses only batteries made by Samsung, arguably THE most reputable lithium-ion battery manufacturer in the world. A recent article in “Wired” magazine quotes Jay Whitacre, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University as saying, “There are a lot of factories in China that now make Li-ion batteries, and the reality is that the quality and consistency of these batteries is typically not as good as what is found in top tier producers such as LG or Samsung.” Li-ion battery fires are extremely rare when using high quality battery systems.

Pedego Electric Bike ChargerSimilarly, the chargers sold with these inferior units are also less reliable than those used by Pedego. According to Whitacre, “If there is not proper protection to the cells, and if the charger is defective, the cells can be severely overcharged.” Most battery fires are caused by overcharging.

Although Pedego has made every effort to make sure its batteries and chargers are of the highest quality, there are some things you can do to reduce the already minuscule risk of catastrophic battery failure:

  1. Make sure to use only the charger supplied by Pedego to charge your batteries. If your charger is missing or doesn’t seem to be working properly, replacement chargers can be purchased from any Pedego dealer.
  2. Remove your battery from the charger when the green light comes on. Leaving the battery on the charger shouldn’t hurt the battery. It’s more to reduce the chance of a problem in case of a malfunction. You don’t have to hover over it but it’s best not to leave your battery on the charger any longer than overnight.
  3. Store your bike, batteries, and charger in a dry place. While Pedego bikes are fairly weather resistant, charging the battery does expose it to the elements a bit more than when you’re riding.
  4. Keep the battery and charger away from heat sources like your furnace or clothes dryer. In general, it’s best to keep and charge your battery where the temperature is between 36 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Keep the battery in the “off” position, using the rocker switch on the battery, when not in use.  In other words, don’t rely on just turning the bike’s power off. (This is also a good habit to get into for security reasons.) Likewise, unplug your charger when not in use.

Pedego is now offering “fire safe bags” with all new bike purchases to give owners a high degree of confidence in the safety of their battery while charging. These bags will contain any flare up should there be a problem. If you already own a Pedego, ask your dealer about getting one of these bags.

Enjoy your ride and spread the word about how fun life can be with a Pedego Electric Bike!

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