Additional Hoverboards Recalled Over Fire, Explosion Risk

Last year, federal safety regulators recalled 501,000 ”hoverboards” from eight manufacturers amid concerns that the not-actually-hovering devices’ lithium-ion battery packs posed a fire hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has added another manufacturer and 500 scooters to the recall list. 

Vecaro recalled 500 hoverboards after receiving three reports of smoking. According to a notice posted with the CPSC, the lithium-ion battery packs in the hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of smoking, catching fire and/or exploding.

Vecaro says it has not received any reports of injuries or property damages linked to the scooters.

The recall covers three types of Vecaro hoverboards: Glide65, Drift8, and Trek10. The devices — which come in black, white, red, blue, metallic gold, metallic silver, graffiti white print, and red flame print — can be identified by “Vecaro” printed on the front outer casing.

The model number is on the right for both the Glide65 and Drift8. The Trek10 model number is on top of the board.

The devices were sold for between $300 and $400 at The Audio Shop and Stereo Zone in California and online at VecaroLifeStyle.com from Nov. 2015 to Nov. 2016

Owners of the recalled devices are urged to immediately stop using the hoverboards and contact Vecaro to return their unit to receive a free repair or a credit toward the purchase of a UL certified device.

An Ongoing Concern

Vecaro’s recall comes less than two weeks after the CPSC announced it would open an investigation into a fire that killed a 3-year-old girl in Pennsylvania.

Authorities say the fire, which took place March 10, occurred when a hoverboard plugged into an outlet caught fire.

The tragic incident became a reminder of the growing dangers of fires and explosions linked to hoverboards.

At the time of the CPSC’s major July 2016 recall, there had been at least 99 incidents reported to the agency of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding including reports of burn injuries and property damage.

Elliot Kaye, who was Chairman of CPSC at the time of the recall, said the Commission had investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires in more than 20 states that resulted in more than $2 million in property damage.

“Let me be clear about this — all of the hoverboard models included in this recall were made with fundamental design flaws that put people at real risk,” Kaye said in a statement in July. “My message to the public was clear in February and continues to be clear today: Do not use a hoverboard that does not meet UL’s electrical safety requirements for these products.”

Issues with the boards began around the 2015 holiday season when many who received the devices as gifts reported they had caught fire or exploded while being plugged in to charge.

In Jan. 2016, the CPSC announced it was investigating 13 hoverboard companies. Engineers with the agency tested hoverboards – both new models and those involved in fire incidents – at its National Product Testing and Evaluation Center.

A month later, the agency said that over a two-month period it had received reports from consumers in 24 states of self-balancing scooter fires, including the destruction of two homes and an automobile.

The agency then notified retailers, manufacturers, and importers that self-balancing scooters are not safe unless they meet certain standards set by the Underwriters Laboratory. Shortly after that, retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Toys ‘R Us, began removing the devices from their physical and online shelves.

More recently, the CPSC made it clear that it wanted to ensure that rechargeable devices — such as hoverbaords and recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones — are safer and less likely to burst into flames than they are now.

To that end, the agency said it was working with battery manufacturers, and electrical engineers to “take a fresh look at the voluntary standard for lithium-ion batteries in smartphones.”