It’s not just buses and cars – electric scooters burn just as easily


Following yesterday’s post about the danger of fire in electric buses and cars, a reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent me the link to this video clip of an electric scooter that spontaneously combusted while being charged inside a house.

That must have been an expensive blaze, what with redecorating costs as well as replacing the scooter!  Again, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of similar occurrences.  All I can say is, don’t bring your electric vehicle indoors . . .



  1. We have two mobility scooters and I bring the batteries inside for charging in long periods of non-use. In fact, they are on a timer to charge every Sunday for a few hours per the manuals. They are sealed lead acid batteries.

    Wonder if that scooter is/was using lithium?

    1. Almost certainly.
      Lead acid batteries are much more forgiving during both charging and discharging than lithium anything.

  2. It's interesting – these videos of electric cars and buses and bikes igniting, and I suppose the commonality is the existence of Lithium-Ion batteries. And yet, I like many others, have a shop full of cordless tools, many of which have Lithium-Ion batteries. I don't leave them on the chargers for much longer than it takes to charge them, but, just playing with the law of averages, I'd guess that many people do leave them on the chargers. And yet – I personally have not been to a structure fire where the cause has been attributed to a lithium-ion battery self-immolating.

    Wondering what the difference might be. Prior damage to the battery pack?

    1. Small batteries have had problems, including cell phones and laptops.
      But in general, the larger devices have LOTS more cells, sometimes thousands of them + the more cells you use, the more likely one is to have been poorly manufactured and fail over time.

    2. Most main stream powertool manufacturers have much tighter QC on their batteries. The same for phones.

      The one that gets missed 8s cheap 123a batteries their a lot of posts about Chinese ones blowing up flashlights

  3. These lithium fires also don't 'show' how toxic they are. We had something like 90 seconds to get them out of the airplane if they cooked off. There are also a number of videos of the little skateboard type boards going up in flames too!

  4. Was the scooter a name-brand unit or chinesium knock-off? I recall past reports about vape pens exploding that were traced back to counterfeit batteries.

  5. Just curious, where did all that water come from on the floor – what was was that if it wasn't water.

  6. You might be surprised to find out just how many undersea devices use lithium batteries because they last longer than alkaline batteries. On our ship, we typically will have almost 1000 battery-powered devices in the water at any given time, and you can multiply that by six ships. That's just one company out of 15 or so, just in our industry. These devices are double O-ring sealed, but still… SOP offshore is to toss them overboard at the first sign of any trouble. Bad for the environment, but good for the whole ship-burning-to-the-waterline thing. It's a very real fear out here.

  7. A lot of these things cook off because of excessive heat during charging. For safety and maximum battery life, I have my cordless tools, ham radio handhelds, and the like plugged into timers. They're set to charge the devices and then shut off for the day. Next day, they'll turn on for a few hours again. This limits the amount of heat buildup, and prevents overcharging.

    If you MUST charge something like one of those scooters inside, plug the charger into an extension cord capable of handling the load, and plug the cord into a timer at an outlet several feet from the vehicle. This will allow you to unplug the charger at a safe distance should a fire erupt. Most electrical fires will self-extinguish once power is removed. At very least you're removing power before someone hits the thing with water!

  8. Peteforester: "Most electrical fires will self-extinguish once power is removed."
    Ah, but most electrical fires aren't battery-powered! That's the super-extra fun of lithium battery fires; each charged cell is a little package of hypergolic materials separated by a thin membrane, just waiting for an opportunity to get together for an exothermic little party.
    The fire will happily continue without external power, external oxygen, etc. – though removing those is good practice in any case.

    Lady Caer Morganna: Methinks the water appeared when the guy slipped and dropped the bucket.

  9. Being a user of High Performance Lithium batteries for my radio controlled cars, and having seen battery packs go boom at the track I race at, I DO NOT charge/discharge/storage charge them in the house. They get charged and stored in the garage, inside a metal ammo can.

  10. Generally, for healthy cells, Lithium cells at less than 50% charge will not contain enough energy to self-rupture. Cells above 150% charge run the risk of bursting.

    But then you get damaged or failed cells in a battery pack. Without cell monitoring and balancing, one cell might start self-discharging, and the (dumb) charger will see that as a lower battery voltage and charge it some more. As the video shows, that can result in undesirable outcomes.

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