Unattended Charging Of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Many of us have probably gone to bed, only to realize that our phone is at 7% battery life. We plug it into the wall and we go to sleep, right? Well, it’s not the end of the world. However, when charging bigger batteries like the Lithium-Ion batteries that are in electric scooters, you might want to be cautious.
Waiting for electric devices to be fully charged is never fun, neither is having to babysit them in case there could be an issue leaving something on charging for too long.
Electric Scooters have become a great, quite inexpensive way of traveling for people all over the world. You don’t need a license, they can get you from point A to B, you don’t have to visit a gas station since it’s fully electric; there are plenty of upsides.
Even though there are many great things about electric scooters being so easy to use for the average person, one thing to consider is that they use an electric battery.
Just like with any electric battery, they have a certain lifetime and they probably won’t last you forever. You can however increase the lifetime, or well, at least reduce the chance of a premature breakdown.
Should I Leave My Electric Scooter Charging Overnight?
The short answer is, no, you should not.
Although Lithium-Ion batteries have become very smart in our electronic evolution, they can suffer stress when dwelling at a state of 100% and still being plugged into the wall.
This can cause the charging adapter to heat up to dangerous temperatures as well as cause pressure inside the actual batteries.
Many devices and charger-adapters that use Lithium-Ion batteries have systems in place that will turn off the electrical flow to the battery once fully charged, however, technology systems can fail.
Optimal Charging – Does It Matter?
In general, leaving electronics unattended while connected for electricity for long periods of time is never a good idea. Having your TV plugged into the wall 24/7 while turned off is obviously not a problem, however, devices that require charging before using is another story.
There are also other things to consider when it comes to charging devices.
For example, on my iPhone, I can go into Settings > Battery > Battery Health in order to see the overall battery capacity. You might not have seen it before but it’s a way to monitor the health of the battery that’s inside your phone.
The age of the iPhone is of course a big parameter that affects battery health, however, the way you use your iPhone in terms of charging can also affect the battery health.
For example, letting your iPhone go down to 0% and die every time before charging it is not an optimal way of using it in terms of battery health.
Leaving it charging on 100% for long periods of time is also not optimal as I mentioned before since it can cause stress inside the battery when it’s dwelling at a fully charged state while still being plugged in.
What has this to do with electric scooters?
Well, iPhones and electric scooters use very similar batteries, so-called Lithium-Ion Batteries.
The thing that separates these is that an iPhone battery is tiny compared to the one in an electric scooter. This is where things change. Overheating and battery breakdown can be a much bigger problem.
My cheaper electric scooter for example had written in the user manual multiple times NOT to leave it charging unattended for long periods of time. I didn’t think too much of it but would rarely leave it alone for more than 3-4 hours as it charged fairly quickly.
However, after leaving it charging once for about 6 hours, I came back to find the charger adapter showing that the charging was done (it had a light indicator showing red/gren), also, it was hot like lava.
This is the problem I mentioned earlier, many charger adapters are made to relieve the electric flow once fully charged, however, not all of them work very well. If I were to leave this charger on for 8+ hours, I would not feel safe going to bed since you don’t know how far the overheating problem will go.
So, could this be a fire hazard?
Well, yes, it could potentially. You might have heard about hoverboards and other electric riding devices exploding or causing fires. While there aren’t many cases, it’s not impossible.
I would say that the more likely outcome from un-optimal charging could be damage to the overall battery health capacity, weakened mile range and weakened maximum power.
(Worth mentioning is that many electric scooters require ~6 hours to be fully charged, the one I’m using right now requires less as it has lower power. Always follow the instructions within the user manual)
A good rule of thumb to follow is to never leave your electric scooter charging for long periods of time while unattended.
I don’t believe you should be afraid to charge your scooter but you should at least try to be optimal while charging it in order to preserve the maximum battery capacity.
Avoid letting it go down to 0% battery and don’t leave it charging if you know you might not be back to plug it in for longer periods of time.
To be safe, unplug any device from charging if you know you might not be back to unplug it for longer periods of time. If not for safety, at least it could help you preserve battery health.
Also, remember to always follow the instructions written within the user manual. If the power on your electric scooter or the charger adapter is acting strange, DO NOT plug it in anymore and instead contact the supplier.