I am ambivalent regarding this as well. In other blogs I have brought up safety only to be told in so many words that I was being overcautious. Yet nobody brings hard data as to the safety standards that batteries are tested to in vehicle use when they do so, they just say that their EV works great. I still haven't had anyone tell me if the volatility increases with density...has anyone checked out the videos that are available online as to what happens when a lithium ion battery is thrown into a barbecue grill (analogous to an EV and an ICE collison where there is a fire). It's not very encouraging.
I glad I ran across this article, I am in the process of transplanting the "guts" of a wrecked 2006 Toyota Prius in to a 1992 Lexus es 300 Donner car (engine and drive train removed of course) I would like to add three more batteries in parallel to the existing battery to extend the mileage before the gas engine kicks in and starts the charging process, I can only imagine the damage it could do to my vehicle or a individual if there was an explosions or fire.
Beth, it does seem like they are trying gloss over a serious failure. Certainly, gasoline is not exactly a stable compound, and we drive around every day with tens of gallons of the stuff being pumped at high pressure just inches away from us, so I'm not really worried about an increased risk. Just the same, the quotes read like the Three Mile Island report and I half expect that they will soon be saying they experienced "rapid oxidation" rather than a fire.
Well, they were doing a test where they were trying to get the battery to fail. It just failed in a more "explosive" manner than they expected. I think (and forgive me for using this word) that this is being overblown a bit. If you left your Clorox bottle at home uncapped for a week, with all the windows and doors tightly sealed, you'd have some very sick occupants. That doesn't mean Clorox is something that shouldn't be used or sold.
Beth I share your thoughts. I'm now wondering what Hollywood and the Media will do with this information. We have some nice examples: 1979 movie The China Syndrome had quite an effect on public perception of Nuclear Energy, the 2010 CSI Episode "Fracked" did quite a bit to fuel rumors about the ills of Fracking, the 1992 TV movie Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster dramatized the dangers of petroleum use, and there is a rumored movie in production based on a New York Times article from December 25, 2010 titled Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours. I'm all for disseminating factual information about the development of new technologies, but I'm curious how this event will shape public perception of battery research.
Chuck, I found myself debating myself just reading the article. I would fully expect, as the experts note, that there would be controlled explosions during the testing of experimental technology like EV batteries. You figure, in the lab, they would be contained, managed, not a biggie. But reading further into your article and hearing what the town Mayor is reporting is a totally different story. Injured people, blown-out doors--those don't sound like effects from a controlled experiment. That sounds like serious stuff that could make people leery about the batteries for a long time.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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