Acculon Energy

Safety: From Start to Scale – Demystifying UL & Other Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Standards with David Ginder

Welcome to Part 2 of our ‘Safety: Start to Scale’ series! This week, we’re featuring an exclusive Q&A with distinguished Li-ion battery safety expert & our Director of Engineering, David Ginder.

Contact: Betsy Barry
Communication Manager

Today, we are consulting with Acculon’s Director of Engineering, David Ginder, who has 25 years of lithium battery experience in stationary, mobile, and aerospace applications. David also is an expert on regulatory standards, compliance, and certification. He is an active member of numerous UL Technical Panels (STPs). He has written and reviewed regulatory standards for energy storage systems, rounding out his expertise in all things safety when it comes to Li-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized the way we power a wide range of applications, from drones to excavators. However, with their immense energy density comes the need for strict safety standards to prevent potential hazards. David will help us delve into the world of safety standards, focusing on UL and other essential guidelines that ensure the safe use of lithium-ion batteries across various applications.


Q1: What are safety standards and why are they crucial for lithium-ion batteries?

David: Safety standards are established guidelines that define the safe design, manufacturing, and use of products to prevent accidents and hazards. For lithium-ion batteries, these standards are crucial because these batteries contain flammable electrolytes and high energy densities, which can lead to thermal runaway, fires, or explosions if not handled properly. Adhering to safety standards helps mitigate these risks and ensures consumer safety.

Q2: What is UL, and what role does it play in lithium-ion battery safety?

David: UL, short for Underwriters Laboratories, is a globally recognized safety science organization that sets standards for various industries, including batteries. UL plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of lithium-ion batteries by testing and certifying products based on rigorous safety requirements. Their certifications indicate that a product has met specific safety benchmarks, giving consumers and manufacturers confidence in the product’s reliability.

Q3: What are some essential UL standards related to lithium-ion batteries?

David: Several UL standards pertain to lithium-ion batteries:

UL 1642: This standard covers the safety of lithium primary and rechargeable cells and batteries during normal use and disposal, including tests for flammability, impact resistance, and more.

UL 2271: This standard is specific to lithium-ion batteries used in light electric vehicles (LEV) like e-bikes and e-scooters, golf cars, etc. including all of the components that make up the battery, including the outer case, wiring, cells, and the battery management system. This standard covers safety during charging, discharging, and collision scenarios. 

UL 2580: This standard covers nickel, lithium-ion, lithium-ion polymer cells, cell modules, and battery packs used in industrial applications such as fork trucks. The Standard evaluates a battery’s ability to withstand the heavy abuse conditions of the vehicle as well as safety from high vibration loads thermal events, and harsh environments.

It is important to understand the specific application that you’re developing a battery for. Different applications adhere to different UL standards, as already discussed. It is important to consult UL resources, such as their website, the UL Product IQ database (, as well as UL experts to provide insights into safety considerations that will help tailor your design and development approach to meet safety requirements. If your application is complex or novel and not addressed by current UL standards, like mining equipment for example, it is important to conduct a gap analysis to determine what existing standards *could* apply. It is also prudent to consult a UL expert to identify areas where additional safety measures might be necessary. 

“I cannot overstate the importance of prioritizing safety against applicable UL standards in the design phase of product development. Final safety qualification & certification should be the foundation of the design process, guiding every step of the way, rather than a ‘finish line’ you cross in the final stages of development.”

– David Ginder,
Director of Engineering

Q4: Are there any changes or updates coming down the pike with respect to UL standards in the near future?

David: As you know the world of energy storage is exploding, no pun intended.  As such all the standards pertaining to lithium and other electrochemical storage systems are in a continuous state of flux.  Once a standard is released there is work being done on the next revision to that standard.  I think the biggest changes that are coming are a sweeping update to thermal runaway protection and the length of time allowed before flame or explosion is detected.  There are a couple of standards out there that cover installations both on-road and off-road that do not have a thermal runaway requirement. This is about to change. You will see this requirement implemented in the very near future, if not this year actually.  

Q5: Are there safety standards beyond UL that are important for lithium-ion batteries?

David: Yes, several international and regional standards also contribute to lithium-ion battery safety. These include:

IEC 61000-4-2 and -6: These are your standard for electromagnetic compatibility immunity standards for  both radiated and conducted and are both under UL and CE certification. 

IEC 62619: Specifies requirements and tests for the safe operation of secondary lithium cells and batteries used in industrial applications, including stationary applications. This is required for CE Mark compliance with the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU.  Its test requirement companion document is IEC 62620.

IEC 62133: An international standard for portable primary (non-rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable) lithium-ion batteries, ensuring their safety and performance, and is a reference in IEC 62619.

UN Manual of Tests 38.3: While not a standard, this set of tests is required for transporting lithium-ion batteries and products containing them, ensuring their safety during shipping. This is required for compliance with the Federal Code of Regulations and is adopted Globally in most countries. 

Q6: How do manufacturers ensure compliance with these safety standards?

David: Manufacturers follow a rigorous process to meet safety standards. This includes designing batteries to withstand specific tests such as overcharging, short-circuiting, impact, extreme temperature exposure, and especially thermal runaway events. I cannot overstate the importance of prioritizing safety against applicable UL standards in the design phase of product development.  Final safety qualification and certification should be the foundation of the design process, guiding every step of the way, rather than a “finish line” you cross in the final stages of development. Manufacturers collaborate with testing laboratories to evaluate their products’ performance and safety, but again, safety should be a guiding principle from day one. Once a product successfully passes the tests, it can be certified by the relevant National Recognized Testing Lab (NTRL), like UL, and display the certification mark on the packaging.

Q7: Why is staying informed about safety standards important for consumers? Can we, as an industry, do more to educate consumers about Li-ion battery safety?

David: Consumers’ awareness of safety standards is crucial for making informed decisions. Knowing which safety certifications to look for can help them choose products that have undergone rigorous testing for safety. This knowledge empowers consumers to make purchases that align with their safety concerns and preferences to keep their employees and families safe.

Lithium-ion batteries have transformed our world, but their power comes with responsibilities to ensure safety. Understanding safety standards like UL and IEC and other internationally recognized guidelines will ensure that we can continue to harness the potential of lithium-ion batteries without compromising safety.

Remember, safety is paramount, and these standards play a pivotal role in upholding that principle across a diverse range of applications. Also remember: when it comes to lithium-ion battery modules and packs, safety begins in the design phase of your battery program, including everything from cell selection to thermal management.

Contact Acculon to learn how we can design the safest battery pack to meet your application requirements.