Q. How can a Lithium Battery catch Fire? And How can we prevent this?

Please watch this video on our channel by OKOYAMA Electric Scooters. It explains in detail on how, Electric Scooters Catch Fire.
A. Lithium-ion Batteries, or Secondary Batteries, are rechargeable and provide high energy density. These batteries contain no free Lithium metal but do contain Lithium Ions and highly flammable electrolytes. Common applications that incorporate li-ion technology include laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles, hospital equipment, and energy storage systems, Electric Vehicles to name a few. If you visit the Wikipedia page for Lithium Ion Batteries it contains a list of the various type of batteries in this category based on their different cathode material :

  1. Lithium Polymer Battery
  2. Lithium Cobalt Oxide
  3. Lithium Iron Phosphate
  4. Lithium Manganese Oxide
  5. Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide

All these batteries operate on a similar principle of a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte.

Lithium batteries are capable of spontaneous ignition and subsequent explosion from overheating. That may be caused by –

  1. Electrical Shorting
    1. Due to external shorting of wires within the Electric Vehicle wiring.
    2. BMS Failure in which the BMS is shorted internally due to a component failure.
  2. Rapid Discharge
    1. It can happen when the vehicle is overloaded or is carrying weight beyond its rated Capacity.
    2. The vehicle is very old and unmaintained and thus it draws more current than required.
  3. Overcharging
    1. It can happen due to use of Over Rated Charger or use of LEAD ACID Chargers with Lithium Batteries.
    2. It can happen due to the malfunctioning of charger leading to a higher than rated voltage.
  4. Manufacturers Defect
    1. Missing insulation between cells to provide for proper protection from inter heating or shorting exchanges.
  5. Poor Design
    1. If the battery box is sealed without proper heat dissipation then temperature could rise within the cabinet when the battery is charged or discharged. Using high current fast chargers can also increase the battery temperature, while heavy loading on a long trip could also increase the battery temperature significantly. With no vent for hot air inside the battery box, temperatures could rise significantly leading to a thermal runway condition.
    2. The BMS also heats up significantly therefore proper heat sink must be provided to the BMS with vents for the hot air to escape.
  6. Mechanical Damage
    1. If any cell is punctured then it could heat up and start a spontaneous fire. It could happen due to transportation damages or any accidental damages.

      Overheating results in a process called Thermal Runaway, which is a reaction within the battery causing internal temperature and pressure to rise at a quicker rate than it can be dissipated.


      Lithium Battery fires are rare but they can range from minor sparks to deadly explosions. As all technologies we use in our day to day life, we all need to be aware of the hazards of lithium batteries which will lead to fewer fire cases. Follow these precautions to prevent a lithium battery fire incident.

      1. To prevent Electrical Shorting : always get a trained technician to wire SUMATOTEK Battery to your vehicle. Take care that there should not be any loose wires in the vehicle which can cause an electrical short.
      2. To prevent Rapid Discharge : always drive the vehicle at a nominal speed. Do not accelerate or increase the speed quickly. It is recommended that you drive slow specially with heavy loads or multiple passengers. Always service your vehicle at regular intervals to prevent excess current being drawn by motor and controller.
      3. To prevent Overcharging : always use a authenthic SUMATOTEK Charger with SUMATOTEK Batteries. You can find the max charging voltage mentioned in the product description of all our products.