Fire in the hole!
While we don’t have a whole lot of information outside of what is in the video (and if anyone recognizes the language here please pipe up and let us know what the captions say), here’s a scary look at what can go wrong when a lithium battery in a motorcycle gets angry.
The rider, two-up and in traffic, obviously sees the smoke and is making his way to the roadside but the fireball does not give him the time he needs. Happily, it does not seem that anyone is too injured in this unplanned getoff, but the pride of the passenger is certainly damaged (he also seems, briefly, to be slightly on fire).
For the riders in the audience, the most distressing thing seems to be that the rider simply ditches his passenger without a word of warning. Would any of us have the presence of mind to communicate with our pillion and let him know the bike is on fire and we’re going to bail? Or would we, like this rider, assume the passenger is conscious and aware of the fireball that is about to happen, and on the same page as far as running away as soon as possible?
Lithium batteries have come a long way since their inception, certainly, though they are still enough of a fire hazard to be banned from the cargo hold of most airlines. This video shows in no uncertain terms that fires can and do still happen. If a lithium battery is not properly sealed and moisture is introduced, a conflagration like the one here is possible.
Many modern electric bikes have battery compartments that are well-protected and insulated from environmental intrusion, but it certainly makes you wonder, what happens if you crash your electric bike in the rain? Will that insulation hold up? Is the battery box nice and strong? Should we be fleeing a potential roadside bonfire?