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This article was published on February 7, 2017

South Korea wants to protect you from battery fires with new safety regulations

South Korea wants to protect you from battery fires with new safety regulations
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

Samsung was in the news for all the wrong reasons last year, after it was forced to recall its Galaxy Note 7 flagship phone over reports of multiple devices bursting into flames. Now, South Korea is looking to prevent such incidents with new safety regulations for manufacturers.

The country is home to Samsung and LG, both of whose smartphone divisions rank among the world’s most popular mobile device brands.

South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy noted on Monday that it will strengthen lithium-ion battery safety requirements and conduct regular inspections to avoid future debacles like the one with the Note 7. It would also subject devices using lithium-ion batteries to more regular safety tests and scrutinize manufacturers’ operations more closely.

Will that be enough to keep device owners from harm? According to the findings from Samsung’s investigations into its problematic Note 7, there were two separate issues to blame for fires: The first was a battery design flaw and the second was a welding defect in batteries provided by a different supplier.

Ideally, South Korea’s new regulations should take all these possibilities into account. And it’s not just phones that we have to worry about: Last month, Samsung announced that its energy storage subsidiary, SDI, was working on a next-gen battery for electric vehicles that would allow for a range of up to 372 miles on a single charge. Hopefully, these will be tested thoroughly before they make their way into cars around the world.