The US government has issued a recall of 35,000 Sony Corp notebook computer batteries, calling them a fire hazard to consumers.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said the recall affects Sony lithium-ion batteries that were used mainly in computers from Hewlett-Packard Co, with a smaller number in notebooks from Dell Inc and Toshiba Corp.
There have been 19 reports of the batteries overheating, including 17 reports of fire, the CPSC said, with two people experiencing minor burns.
Sony spokeswoman Elizabeth Boukis would not speculate on the cost of the recall.
The company will support the US recall, along with that of an additional 65,000 batteries worldwide.
On a global basis, PC makers have reported 40 overheating incidents, Sony said.
The recall affects around 32,000 HP notebooks, 3000 from Toshiba, and 150 Dell computers.
HP could not be immediately reached for comment.
Sony blamed the faulty batteries on manufacturing line adjustments in 2004 and 2005, which it believes may have affected the quality of some cells. Other incidents of overheating may have involved a problem with raw materials, the company said.
Boukis said batteries covered by the new recall are unrelated to those in company's massive 2006 recall.
That action covered 9.6 million batteries and cost the company millions.
In addition, last month the consumer electronics giant recalled 438,000 of its Vaio laptops due to battery overheating concerns.
The problem with better and better batteries is that those better batteries come with inreasingly dense chemical energy, which makes them more useful but also more dangerous. Lithoium-ion batteries are within the same order of magnitude of chemical density as TNT! To make matters worse, lithium-ion was delayed to market for years because they catch fire so incredible easily from overcharging and overdischarging; it wasn't until protective circuity was developed that they became widely adopted.
Anecdote: when lithium-ion batteries first made their way into cell phones, pilots of ultra-light indoor R/C planes would dismantle the battery packs to put them on their planes, removing all the protection, but carefully sizing the motors and all to within the same limits of the battery. But if the propellor happened to hit something (like the ground) while the pilot still had the throttle on... that locked-rotor current would send the Li-ion into thermal overrun within seconds. They had a similar problem with charging. The fancy smart-chargers will let you dial-a-setting... and if that setting is too high... heh.
Apparently, the Tesla roadster offers supercar performance from its li-ion battery... but don't try to track it, because under race conditions, the battery will overheat and catch fire!
There's a local guy who drag races his custom-built electric car, who recently made the change to Li-Ion batteries. Their weight/power ratio over the (assuming lead-acid) batteries he has before means he lays waste to gas cars even quicker!
Well, drag races are one place you don't need to worry about overheating the battery It's a different issue if you take it to a road course like the Nurbergring in Germany where the fastest time requires constant full accelleration followed by as hard of braking as you can to make the corner, followed immediately by accellerating as hard as you can, etc. Brakes end up glowing cherry red and Tesla battery packs end up... well... more of a smouldering black from what I hear
Electric cars are just going to slaughter on the drag strip. They're just so easy to make go so fast, the tradeoffs are completely different than for gasoline engines. I imagine they'll do extremeley well at Autocross, too.
In any long race the problem with electrics will be "refueling". I assume the rules would allow swapping batteries in a pit stop. In that regard it would be as fast as dumping fuel in a tank. I am really thinking about making my Prelude electric
Hybrid-electric with regenerative braking might do well... issue with that, is that it's hard to get regenerative braking to work well enough to stop a car at the limit of tire traction, and thus not very practical for a race car.
I know of a company out in Colorado takes cars and turns them into electric vehicles From what I hear, it's actually rather affordable (as in, less than the price of a new car), though certainly not economic- you'll never make your money back off it.