They get hot. They short-circuit. They burst into flames. This time Nokia’s on the hot seat, literally. The company has recalled 46 million Lithium Ion batteries manufactured by Matsushita Battery Co. because of 100 overheating incidents. This type of battery technology is used in the vast majority of laptops and mobile phones (check your own).
Editor Steve Bush’s article on the recall states that “generally lithium ion batteries are safe when charged and discharged according to the manufacturer’s instructions.” But the devil is in the trade-offs, as he goes on to note: “Nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries do not contain flammable materials [unlike Lithium Ion batteries] and are far more robust against thermal runaway. This said, cadmium is toxic.” When it comes to battery technology, it seems it’s a matter of picking your poison.