Lithium ion batteries are back in the news and not in a good way. From laptop computers and hoverboards to the latest smartphones – why do they keep catching fire? Are all lithium ion batteries this dangerous?
We first addressed the issue of lithium ion safety back in 2010, shortly after Liberty Coach became the first luxury RV maker to convert to a Li+ battery system. Now seems like a good time to revisit the topic, and not just because we’ve put nearly 100 Li+-equipped coaches on the road with no safety issues.
The fact is, our new Tier 4-compliant energy system isn’t just a breakthrough in emissions reduction and energy efficiency. It’s a breakthrough in safety, as well.
That’s due primarily to Volta Power Systems’ 58-volt lithium ion battery pack, which utilizes automotive grade Li+ technology and is built to the same rigorous standards as the batteries used in most electric and hybrid cars, including Tesla, Toyota Prius, and the Chevy Volt. It bears little resemblance to the batteries used in cellphones, hoverboards and other consumer products designed to be fast to market and have limited useable lives. Automotive grade battery systems are designed to replace internal combustion engines and so must deliver exceptionally long life and meet extraordinary safety standards. The same holds true in the motorcoach arena, where Liberty Coach alone has tapped this enormously promising technology.
Offered exclusively beginning in Liberty’s 2017 model year, the Volta system features multiple built-in safety measures. One example is the exacting control provided by Volta’s Battery Management Unit (BMU), which provides constant monitoring at the individual cell level to ensure each of the battery pack’s hundreds of cells is always within a safe operating range. Another is the high quality steel housing, designed to meet the same performance and life requirements of the automotive OEMs, which protects the system from the external environment and provides an airtight seal in the case of accident.
The bottom line: The Volta system gives you the same world class safety and performance you would expect from any automotive OEM – and something only Liberty Coach offers in the world of luxury motorcoaches.