I don’t really drive enough to make an electric vehicle (EV) a compelling value proposition, but if my commute was a bit longer it is something I would seriously consider.
However, there is one aspect of EVs that makes me a little nervous. Although rare, lithium-ion batteries can fail, resulting in a fire. This fire can spread to other cells, and can ultimately explode in a thermal runaway. This slight risk would probably cause me to think twice about charging an EV in my garage at night.
There are potential solutions to this problem. Last year I wrote about A Battery That Could Change The World, which was a story about the development of a solid-state lithium battery that won’t catch fire if damaged.
However, today’s lithium-ion batteries aren’t going away anytime soon. So, one company has developed a potential solution to the fires that can be spawned from lithium-ion battery failures.
California-based KULR Technology, in partnership with NASA, has developed a product to stop lithium-ion battery packs from exploding in thermal runaway.
NASA is interested in this problem because of the potential for a catastrophic failure in space. A runaway thermal event from these batteries may be a low-probability event, but on a spacecraft or in a spacesuit, the consequences could be devastating.