Fast Company

A Decent Battery

They don't make rechargeable lithium-ion batteries like they used to.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today that Lenovo and IBM are recalling an estimated 526,000 battery packs, after an overheated battery caused a fire with enough smoke and sparks that a fire extinguisher was needed to put it out.

Joining the ranks of Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, Lenovo is the fourth major manufacturer to announce a battery recall in the last five months.

The complication in Lenovo's notebooks comes from the battery cells made by Sony. The liquid inside them is flammable, and if there is a short, a chemical chain reaction occurs that can melt the battery or even make it explode. As manufacturers strive to make batteries that will last longer, more of the flammable liquid is packed into the small space.

Does it shake your confidence in a brand when something like this happens? Does it shake your confidence in an industry when it happens to four brands? Or with technology advancing so fast, are mistakes like this accepted by consumers -- even expected?

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3 Comments

  • Dawson

    The last time I sat down with my powerbook in the living room to watch a little TV and check email, I had images of it exploding in my lap and setting my pants on fire. Aside from this, I really don't think about it much.

  • Ben

    Being that Sony is such a huge brand, I think it's going to take a lot to unhinge them or consumer confidence in the brand. The latest recall is probably the first of this series though, that has started to erode at least some of my confidence in them. I would think twice before buying a computer with one of their batteries in it. But this situation hasn't made me less sure of their other products at all. And, quite frankly, I don't see why it should.

  • James

    This is sad. Lithium Ion batteries worked great before this whole run came out. If SONY fudged the process or materials, then they are gonna take a huge hit. I'm going to wait until the investigation is leaked to the press. This may end up being the case since SONY is hinging so much on the PS3 release.