Hoverboard Explosion and Failure
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
Reports of exploding hoverboards have been increasing recently, raising concerns over the safety of the popular toy during the holiday season. It is presumed that the hoverboard battery overheats leading to a small explosion. Hoverboards produced by Swagway, a popular hoverboard manufacturer, among other manufacturers were banned by Amazon, Target and Delta and American Airlines.
There are currently reports of at least eleven hoverboards that have burst into flames. Firemen are warning people not to overcharge them as it might increase the likelihood of battery failure and explosion.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and US Customs and Borders are investigating these claims. A class action lawsuit has been started against Hoverboard manufacturers in upstate New York, for the devices bursting into flames.
Johnny Zhu, founder of Swagway, claimed that his company has been turned into a victim. Swagway claims their batteries were obtained from a certified assembler who bought the cells directly from LG and Samsung. LG flatly denied the claims and Samsung did not comment.
Earlier this month, Britain's biggest retailers began recalling hoverboards over government concerns of safety. In addition to the difficulty some have balancing on the self-propelling hands free scooters, National Trading Standards, a consumer protection agency, reported that 32,000 out of about 38,000 hoverboards inspected were deemed unsafe. Many hoverboards have non-compliant plugs without fuses, which increase the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire. Many cut-off switches also failed when tested. Safety concerns include issues with the plugs, cabling, chargers, batteries or the cut-off switches.
Similarly, reports of failing electronic cigarettes have emerged recently. Battery failure can lead to an explosion of the device which is alarming and quite dangerous, especially if it occurs as the device is being used.
Consumers of any electronic products should make sure to follow safety instructions when charging their devices. Although explosions are not frequent, taking precautions can help minimize their occurrence and/or effect.