The problem of exploding hoverboards might soon have a solution. UL, a company known for certifying the safety of all sorts of everyday products, has started accepting submissions from hoverboard manufacturers and distributors. Hoverboard companies that want an independent endorsement of the safety of their products can start submitting them today.
Though UL doesn't go into much detail about its new certification process, the company says that its science, research, and engineering teams worked together to develop "appropriate requirements and methodology to confidently evaluate and test the entire self-balancing scooter for electrical and fire-hazard safety as a system." Going forward, hoverboards that receive a "UL 2272" certification will have passed an evaluation of the power supply, the battery pack, and the overall integration of these components.
UL says that it hasn't put any hoverboard through this new certification process just yet, but the company has already dedicated an entire section of its website to the new program. It's full of safety recommendations for general consumers (keep hoverboards away from flammable materials while charging, don't overcharge or charge it overnight, etc.) and information for manufacturers or distributors looking to get their product certified.
Nothing guarantees that manufacturers or distributors will submit their hoverboards for UL certification; in fact, UL admits that the process is voluntary. But retailers typically pick and choose products based on guidelines like the ones UL has laid out here, so it's likely that companies will see this as an advantage when it comes to getting their products in stores — online or brick and mortar. Until now, we've just had to take these companies' word for it. (To wit, Swagway touted its use of UL-certified components in order to keep being sold on Amazon, but would have to resubmit its boards for full certification with this new process in place.)
The process is voluntary, so it's up to the companies to submit
Of course, right now it's hard to find places outside the home or office where you can even ride a hoverboard. They've been banned from New York City trains, buses, and subways, as well as major airports and airlines. They're also still somewhat difficult to acquire — retailers keep waffling on whether or not to stock the products, and even when they do there are shipping restrictions in place. UL's new certification process might help alleviate these pressures, but only if the manufacturers get on board.
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