Let us share some updates on Lithium Ion battery storage and transport based on new manufacturer accessories and DIY experiments. The batteries of electric surfboards and hydrofoils carry a lot of energy and therefore you should care about some basics how you transport and store the lithium ion battery packs.
Our article about battery safety got a lot of positive feedback from the manufacturers and the users. Some manufacturers have released new accessories to make it safer to store and transport the batteries and we did our own DIY experiments.
Update: We now fireproof battery cases in our shop.
Just recently we got interviewed from Mike at Jetsurfingnation about this topic:
Battery bag from Onean
Onean is probably the manufacturer which sold most electric surfboards until 2019. They developed a bag for storage and charging. The highest risk of a battery fire exists while you are charging. And therefore you should never charge any jetboard battery without supervision. Always be close to your battery while it is charging.
The bag looks quite light, but according to Onean they have run several tests and they think it can protect even a thermal runaway. They promised us videos, but never send them. Light means also convenient and this looks like a comfortable solution to store and charge your battery. What we are missing is the shock resistance which cases like the ones of Lift offer below. We still hope that Onean will deliver the videos in the near future like Torque did.
The price is 289 EUR plus VAT and shipping.
Torque battery steel case
Torque from Australia went the extra mile and shared a video how their steel case in combination with a fire-proof bag will protect you. This was very much appreciated and shows the highest level of transparency. Good job job, Dean and team.
This video shows you exactly how the box reacts if it gets hit by a thermal runaway which is the worst case scenario. Dean is offering this steel case for his own users, but is also open to work with other manufacturers to make this solution available for other batteries. Like with the Onean bag you can connect the charger cable with the battery and close the steel box.
The price is around 250 EUR for Torque customers and for non-customers the price is on request.
Lithium Ion battery transport box from Lift
We own and sell Lift eFoils and just recently ordered a couple of Pelican cases offered by Lift to make it safer to transport the batteries. These boxes are not protecting you against any thermal runaway if the batterie would catch fire, but they make it easy to transport them without having much risk to damage the battery if you let them fall or they would shift in the back of your car.
As you can see on the pictures the battery packs fit perfectly into the Pelican case. You still shouldn't drop it, but in case it happens the battery will be protected. We are travelling with our boards quite often and therefore we have 3 cases for our batteries.
As mentioned above the case is not designed to protect any fire it is juts to make the transport safe. As you know, once you drop a naked battery you should replace it. This is an expensive exercise as these battery cost a few thousand Euros each. Why did Lift not offer a fire-proof case? Well, we would say it is a balance between safety and convenience. Lift is an expert in hydrofoils since a decade, but not in battery technology. This is why they outsourced the battery development and production to a Californian company working with automotive standards. These guys develop lithium ion batteries for cars like Tesla and should be pretty safe.
The price of the case is around 250 EUR.
DIY Lithium Ion battery storage solutions
After talking to some professional researchers for battery safety it turned out that the safest solution would be a steel box (plastic or aluminium would melt too fast) in combination with a granulate like PyroBubbles. The concept is very similar to the solution of Torque above. Now you can argue of course how much effort you really need to put into the Lithium Ion battery storage and transport solutions. Well, we think it depends on several factors:
- Do you have a high quality automotive standard battery or a cheaper model?
- Do you store the battery in your house or at a place where no people live and sleep?
- Do you just have one battery or several of them?
In our case we store up to 10 batteries for electric surfboards and this is why we also want to protect the batteries against each other. They are quite expensive as you know.
We got one old and cheap steel box on Ebay and paid 20 EUR for it. It needed some paint, but it should do the job. We also got 2 other steel boxes for 100 EUR each which are in excellent shape. These were boxes to protect documents for the German government.
We used black fire-proof paint for the inside and normal blue paint for the outside. Total spend was 50 EUR. In addition we bought 50 bags of PyroBubbles which we had to pay 139 EUR for. So in total we spend about 189 EUR for our DIY lithium ion storage solution. Unfortunately we only found one old steel box for this price so we had 2 pick 2 more boxes which were about 100 EUR each, which make it 239 EUR a set including the PyroBubbles.
You put one layer of bags on the ground, but the battery on top and then cover the battery from all sides with the rest of the bags. In the example below we needed all 50 bags for the ePropulsion outboard motor battery, because the form factor is not ideal. With other flat batteries you may only need half of them.
Of course it is more convenient to use a solution from the manufacturer which exactly fits the battery, but not all manufacturers are offering such a solution. We will post more pictures and future solution in our forum at: forum.e-surfer.com/safety-instructions