Embed battery safety into your MVP.
By Cate Lawrence. Published The Next Web
I wanted to understand how micromobility manufacturers approach the problem of battery fires. I spoke to Oscar Morgan, CEO at escooter company Bo, a company aiming to create “the world’s safest scooter.”
One priority is cell traceability. The company uses high-quality battery cells which possess a high degree of traceability:
This means if an issue occurs within a given batch [e.g. 1 million cells] you can trace it to that batch, and check the rate of occurrence against the expected failure rate per million cells.
Thus, if the incident rate is out of reasonable expectation, products using those batteries can be notified, and recalled.
Traceability is notably absent from cheap ebikes and escooters, that mostly use unbranded, untraceable cells – possibly even from multiple suppliers.
As Morgan notes, “The rate of incidence within a given batch is almost impossible to identify, which makes it a crap shoot as to whether a given batch of cells is safe.”
Also in Bo’s favor is the use of a high-quality BMS containing multiple thermocouple sensors which watch the temperature of cells, have control of the charging circuit, and isolate modules of the battery when an ‘out of parameter’ condition is detected.
Morgan asserts that the shortest route to eliminate risk from battery fires would be “to house all batteries within a vented stainless steel casing, which has a melting point higher than the burn temperature of lithium. However, for weight, design, and cost considerations, this is not always practical.”
Verdict: It’s positive that Bo is thinking critically about battery safety. I’d love to see a partnership with some of the preventative tech like Thermarestor.
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