About Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have some great advantages over other types of energy storage. One of those advantages is safety. Lithium-ion batteries are very safe compared to many other methods of energy storage, despite the media’s occasional exploitation of consumer unfamiliarity with the technology.

Lithium-ion Advantages

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have a number of advantages over other forms of energy storage. Here are some of the key advantages they offer:

  • 3-5 times the life of lead acid batteries
  • 1/3 the weight and size of lead acid batteries.
  • Safer energy storage than gasoline tanks or compressed natural gas cylinders.
  • Not harmful to the environment.
  • Quiet, unlike combustion engines.

Lithium-ion Safety

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, when appropriately used with a BMS, are safer than many other forms of energy storage. Many people are unaware that:

  • Lithium-ion batteries are not the same, and are more stable than lithium metal batteries.
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are much more stable than single-use lithium-ion batteries.
  • Consumer-level lithium-ion batteries are much more likely to have problems than those used in commercial and industrial applications (such as electric vehicles) because of the numerous safety precautions provided by BMSs.
  • There are different types of lithium-ion batteries, with different chemistries and properties:
    • The older, more unstable formulas are no longer used.
    • Higher power but more volatile lithium-cobalt formulas are not generally used for vehicles or other applications where their volatility is a safety concern.
    • Lower power but more stable formulas are generally used for everyday appliances and vehicles.

Lithium-ion in the Media

JTT Electronics is committed to providing safe, effective battery systems for a multitude of applications.

The public has been concerned in the recent past due to occasional news reports regarding the safety of lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, these reports often fail to provide sufficient background information for the audience to understand the context of the events and the technology involved.

Chevy Volt

News reports following the Chevy Volt battery fires of 2011 are one example of sensationalist reporting which led to public concern about lithium-ion batteries. In reality, no real-world crashes involving Volts are known to have resulted in a battery-related fire. The vehicles that caught fire were test vehicles used by Chevy to perform rigorous crash tests, that were not properly drained of battery power afterwards (all Volts in circulation have programming that automatically drains the battery of charge following a serious crash).

None of the fires happened to a vehicle while it was being used, and the US government ruled that electric cars do not pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline powered vehicles. The reality is that lithium-ion batteries paired with BMSs are safer than many other methods of energy storage.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

More recently, the battery packs aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes were determined to be the cause of more than one fire. The Boeing Dreamliner uses batteries of a chemistry not normally used in vehicles. The reason that lithium-cobalt batteries are not normally used in vehicles is their greater volatility. JTT Electronics does not use lithium-cobalt battery cells.