Of Dreamliners and EVs

by Ernie Hernandez on January 29, 2013

Boeing787

Lithium-ion batteries found to not be the problem

Earlier this month the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner was grounded due to in-flight incidents. An All Nippon Airways flight performed an emergency landing after on-board indicators issued a battery error and another indicated smoke. Initial reports focused on the lithium-ion batteries used, and suggested that they were the cause of the incidents.

On Monday Japan’s transport ministry found no quality or technical problems with the batteries. With the battery removed as the source of the issue, investigations are ongoing to discover what exactly did cause the malfunction. Whatever the cause, this will prove to be an expensive proposition for the eight carriers that have acquired the planes. A more severe impact will be felt by Boeing as there are over 800 Dreamliners on order.

More importantly for the EV community, it removes from the equation the ongoing dialog that lithium-ion batteries are inherently unsafe. Granted, there may be some issues with the battery management systems used, or other technological or even hardware issues that could have contributed to the issue. Currently, these other factors are all under consideration, and it may be some time before answers are provided. Analysis showed that the batteries themselves were operating as expected immediately prior to the incidents. With this battery type powering all Nissan LEAFs, it is important that current and prospective LEAF owners understand that the batteries in their cars are safe and pose no threat to vehicle or passenger safety.

 

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