The Explosive History of Lithium-Ion Batteries

The Dreamliner’s woes are another example of this family of rechargeable batteries either swelling, overheating, or spontaneously combusting
Ignoring low-charge warnings has led to dead batteries in the electric Tesla Roadster. They cost up to $40,000 to replace Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The grounding of the 787 fleet was the first time in 34 years that an entire fleet of aircraft has been pulled out of service
Photograph by Reuters

Boeing grounded 50 of its 787s on Jan. 16 after a battery fire forced the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways flight. The dangerous and costly failure of the lithium-ion batteries made plenty of headlines—and not for the first time.

Dell recalled 4.1 million laptops in 2006 after several overheated or caught fire, the largest-ever consumer electronics safety recall. Defective batteries inside the iPhone 3GS have been known to overheat, expand, and split apart the device’s housing
Photographs by Bloomberg

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