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apple developer enterprise account for rent(buyappleacc.com):Explainer: Are lithium-ion batteries in EVs a fire hazard?

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General Motors Co has expanded the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to a risk of fire from the pouch-type lithium-ion battery cells made by South Korea's LG.

The recall, the second major one involving batteries made by LG Chem's battery unit LG Energy Solution (LGES) underscores the challenges facing battery firms in making a stable product to power electric cars.

HOW DOES A LITHIUM-ION BATTERY WORK?

Cells come in different shapes and sizes, but most have three key elements: Electrodes, electrolyte and separator.

Electrodes store the lithium. The electrolyte carries the lithium ions between electrodes. The separator keeps the positive electrode from coming in contact with the negative electrode.

Energy, in the form of electricity, is discharged from the battery cell when lithium ions flow from the negative electrode, or anode, to the positive electrode, or cathode. When the cell is charging, those ions flow in the opposite direction, from cathode to anode.

WHY DO LI-ION BATTERIES POSE A FIRE RISK?

Lithium-ion batteries, whether they are used in cars or electronic devices, can catch fire if they have been improperly manufactured or damaged, or if the software that operates the battery is not designed correctly.

The major weakness of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars is the use of organic liquid electrolytes, which are volatile and flammable when operating at high temperatures. An external force such as a crash can also lead to chemical leakage.

"For EV fires, it's been always very difficult to pinpoint the exact root cause of the fire, because it is extremely difficult to 're-enact' the fire incident with the same conditions," said Kim Pil-soo, automotive engineering professor at Daelim University.

Also authorities, car makers and battery makers often do not disclose what the exact safety risk is.

WHAT CAUSED THE FIRES ON BOLTS AND KONAS?

In February, South Korea's transport ministry said some defects had been found in some battery cells manufactured at the LGES China factory and used in Hyundai Motor's electric cars, including the Kona EV. Hyundai's recall cost about 1 trillion won ($854 million).

GM said the batteries supplied by LG for the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV may have two manufacturing defects – a torn anode tab and folded separator – present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire.

For a factbox on major battery fires:

ARE POUCH-TYPE BATTERIES MORE VULNERABLE?

All three types of lithium-ion batteries currently used in electric cars - cylindrical, prismatic and pouch-type - are fundamentally the same in functionality, but each has pros and cons.

Cylindrical and prismatic batteries are cased in hard materials. Pouch-types use sealed flexible foils and are protected by thin metal bags.

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