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Current Affairs

E-scooters catching fire

Date: 01 April 2022 Tags: Energy

Issue

Many incidents have been reported about two-wheeler electric scooters catching fire abruptly.

 

Background

Electric scooter or e-scooters run on electric rechargeable batteries instead of petroleum fuel.

 

Details

  • The electric vehicles (EV) mostly use Lithium-ion batteries as they are light and highly efficient compared to other varieties.

  • The same batteries are used in electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops. These batteries are also vulnerable to fire incidents.

 

Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are one of the most popular battery types today, powering millions of consumer electronics around the globe.

 

Battery structure

It is made up of anode, cathode, separator, electrolyte, and two current collectors. Lithium is stored in cathode and anode.

 

Working

The movement of the lithium ions from the anode to the cathode and vice versa through the separator creates a charge at positive current collector.

 

Advantages

  • Light weight

  • High energy density

  • Rechargeable

  • Longer lifespan

 

Disadvantages

  • High energy density of these cells can become unstable in certain conditions, hampering functionality.

  • A battery management system (BMS) has to be applied to a Li-ion battery to make sure they operate safely.

  • In extreme high temperatures, the battery packs gets unstable and become extremely prone to catching fire.

 

Reasons for fires

  • The major reason is assumed to be short-circuit in battery cells. Even if a few cells malfunction and cause a short circuit, it can kick start a chain reaction resulting in a fire.

  • This process is termed as thermal runaway. It is the main reason why the battery burst into flames immediately.

 

Effects of battery fires

  • Fire in batteries of electric vehicles can impact consumer shift towards electric mobility. There will be hesitation for buying electric vehicles.

  • There are fears that the ambitious electric migration plan will be delayed if such incidents keep happening.