Get off that hoverboard!

Gigi Douban Jul 6, 2016
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Entire homes have burned down because of hoverboards catching on fire.  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Get off that hoverboard!

Gigi Douban Jul 6, 2016
Entire homes have burned down because of hoverboards catching on fire.  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that 10 companies recalled self-balancing scooters, also known as levitating boards, also known as hoverboards. The recall affects half a million of these things, all manufactured in China. Amazon is telling customers who bought hoverboards about the recall. Other big retailers like Overstock.com and Target are also offering refund or replacement options. The safety issue goes way beyond not falling off.

If you have an afternoon to kill, pull up videos of hoverboard fails. One thing will become obvious: they’re dangerous. Patty Davis, spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said when hoverboards were brand new last August, it was people falling. Then, things got worse.

 “People have had their entire homes burned down, they’ve lost animals, they’ve had their cars set on fire,” she said.

That’s because the battery would overheat and catch fire. Davis said hoverboards were the hottest gift this past holiday season. They got really popular really quickly. The problem was, she said, “They were all made in China, and they did not have any safety standard.”

K.M. Abraham, a lithium-ion battery consultant and author of a paper on exploding hoverboards, said as more companies started making the scooters, they started to cut corners.

“That means they need to put in cheap batteries without a lot of care taken into manufacturing them,” he said.

Now that there is a safety standard, manufacturers are offering refunds and repairs on older devices. Segway, for one, came out with a hoverboard that is safety certified. Those started out at costing more than $1,000. Now, they’re on sale for less than $500.

 

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