How Tough Are Lithium-Ion Batteries In Electric Cars? (VIDEO)

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Electric car makers go to great lengths to ensure that the high voltage batteries used in their cars are safe, even under fairly extreme circumstances.

But just how far can you go to test lithium-ion cells to destruction?

Well, if the video above is anything to go by, there's plenty you can do to destroy lithium-ion polymer cells, if you fancy a bit of fun.

The duo in the video seem happy to 'carefully' over-charge cells, before whacking them with hammers to create explosions... or stabbing them with large bits of metal.

Or, you could short the batteries to weld the ends together... but not before removing your safety glasses so they don't get hurt, of course. And don't forget those skin safety gloves...

If you're feeling really flash--or perhaps, if you'd like to create a big flash--you could massively over-charge a battery until it explodes in a ball of flame.

It's not all fun and games...

Believe it or not, there are actually things to be learned from this video.

The first, is that you really do have to push lithium-ion cells to extreme lengths to get them to overheat, break or explode--lengths well beyond the engineered-in safety systems that all electric vehicles have, which prevent them getting too hot or over-charged.

Some types of lithium-ion cells are also more susceptible to impacts, fires and shorting than others, so not every cell from every car would react in the same was as these tests.

Cobalt oxide cells, such as you might find in laptops or handheld electronics--and the Tesla Roadster--can be dangerous when damaged. But even then, there have been no reported problems in accidents with Tesla Roadsters, again illustrating the lengths companies go to, to make battery electric vehicles safe.

The second, is that if you're going to try similar experiments, it's probably wise to wear actual safety gear, and avoid kicking flaming objects around your garage.

Seriously folks--enjoy the video, but don't try this at home!


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Comments (7)
  1. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. ha ha, real funny. what a bunch of idiots

  3. These bozos might be on next year's Darwin Award nominations.

  4. Those are RC-class Li-Poly cells. Less stabilizers in them compared to EV cells. The A123 cells can be dead shorted or impacted and not end up in flames, for example. That gives them a safety edge but slightly lower energy/kg.

  5. Super Funny! I wonder what comes to the minds of these people! will they win an award for this? lolz

  6. Not can even hear children in the area at one point. Nice big clouds of smoke to inhale as well. Seriously stupid.

  7. If you like to play with the chemistry of lithium cells, consider this: the military has a technology called a "fuel vapor" bomb that uses a little gasoline (yeah, what you put in your tank every day) that... well, look it up. The lithium cell is very tame by comparison. There is nothing to fear from these batteries, when compared to the huge energy in regular liquid fuels.

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