When the electric, self-balancing scooters, also known as “hoverboards” sold during the 2015 holiday season began exploding and bursting into flames, manufacturers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission scrambled to discover the underlying cause. Panicked consumers rushed to return the boards and scooters to stores, and the world’s major airlines banned them from flights for fear of an onboard fire. As early as February 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning that these ride-on vehicles posed serious risk for fire or injury, even going so far as blocking imports and issues formal recalls for products that do not meet safety standards. That recall finally came through in July 2016, following dozens of fires and injuries, and more than $2,000,000 in damage.
So, what went wrong, causing such extensive damage? Like laptops, cell phones and tablets, self-balancing electric scooters and hoverboards run on lithium ion batteries. These batteries contain small chambers of highly flammable liquid that can overheat during charging, causing fire and explosions. The fluid is contained within the battery in chambers that are separated by delicate plastic membranes. The chambers can rupture and cause the fluid to overheat or ignite if the plastic membranes are damaged through rough use or if any of the metal components within the battery break free and puncture the membranes. The difference between the battery in your phone and the incendiary batteries in the hoverboards lies in the way these batteries are manufactured and the way they are used. Because of the delicate nature of the batteries, cell phone and computer manufacturers have taken lengths to ensure the batteries used in their devices are made in factories with quality-control and safety standards in place. The batteries in the malfunctioning hoverboards and scooters were made in a series of overseas factories under questionable conditions—with an emphasis on getting the finished products to market in the greatest possible numbers for the 2015 holiday gift giving season.
If you or someone you love has incurred property damage or personal injury due to the malfunction of a hoverboard or self-balancing scooter, it is important to consult with a skilled attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible. We founded Best Local Attorney to connect you with the best attorneys in your area who specialize in cases like yours. Call 1.800.603.6833 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar today, and let us help you find a caring, knowledgeable attorney who will tirelessly advocate for you and work for your best interests.