In yet another setback for lithium-ion battery technology, Mitsubishi Motors has acknowledged that it recently had a fire and an overheating incident involving the high-energy batteries.
The automaker reported early Wednesday that a lithium-ion battery pack intended for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV caught fire while connected to a charge/discharge testing station at a Mitsubishi plant in Okayama Prefecture. In a separate incident, a charged lithium-ion battery installed in an Outlander plug-in hybrid overheated, melting battery cells and part of the battery pack.
Same Yuasa brand, same issue with a single cell causing the problem, as was the case in the two Boeing 787 incidents, but a different flavor of Li-Ion chemistry. It will be interesting to see if the focus (finally) goes inside the cells themselves, instead of addressing peripheral, unlikely, easier to protect against, and easier-to-check-and-rule-out causes.
As appealing as Li-Ion batteries are, this thermal runaway seems to have been such a common problem that one would think the root causes by now would have been discovered and remedied?
Two days ago, I read an article (Discovery News) about an emerging affordable 1,000 mile aluminum-air batteries for cars. They would be a game changer if they really could be deployed. Will Lithium-Ion batteries prove too hard to control - or are we just not yet at the point of having all the necessary process controls on their production?
I don't know much about the technology behind these batteries so I'm wondering how they still missed the fact they were building a battery that could fail when surely the best minds in the lithium-ion battery business did all the testing they could possibly come up with? I hope the battery issue have already been addressed. I truly hope the battery problems have been fixed. One can only imagine what would happen if something even remotely similar would happen again.