When a standard car battery is charged via the alternator, it creates hydrogen gas.
In standard cars, that battery is under the hood so the gas drifts away.
In the Smart, the gas could accumulate in the cabin causing an explosion hazard.
The standard Smart battery comes with a venting tube that exits the bottom of the battery tray, your replacement should have this connection unless using a sealed Optima battery.
The Smart is so light that if it didn't explode, it might lift off of the ground and rise into the air. By reving your engine, you could go up. And by cracking your side window, just a little, you could descend. The actual danger is being carried out to sea by the jet stream where you would eventually run out of gas. You would then descend into shark-infested waters. So the best thing to do about this problem is to always carry life vests, parachutes, flares, paddles, shark repellent, a good book and a week's supply of food and water.
My Volvo stationwagen also suffers from this terrifying problem of an onboard battery. We deal with this by always wearing fire suits, driving with all the windows down and strapping passengers to the roofrack. Thank heavens it is a heavy car is all I can say.
I don't think it could happen. Even if a high concentration of hydrogen gas could build up with the wrong battery, and the vent hole was plugged in the bottom of the battery hold. You would need a source of ignition like a spark. It could be done but you would have to cause it yourself. Maybe MythBusters could test this ? They could find a way to make this happen, but it won't happen just because someone only used a battery without a vent tube. I don't mean to be a killjoy, just keeping it real. Lets not try to create another issue or reasons to fault this great little car.
Hydrogen requires 4-percent mixture with air before it can ignite. All batteries generate hydrogen when charging. The reason this has never been a problem in automobiles is due to the fact that only tiny amounts of hydrogen are released - never approaching the required air mixture - and hydrogen is difficult to contain. It wants to go to the stratosphere, being 14 times lighter than air. I agree that it is really silly to invent battery explosions as a problem for Smart cars.
i dealt with this last year on youtube, with the mopes pushing HHO generators to double gas mileage. where you would install a small water tank, electrolize the hydrogen out of it and inject this gas into the air intake of the engine. when you intentionally generate hydrogen under the hood and pipe that into the engine and it does nothing, but make $$$ for the clowns selling the plans to the fools who believe them.
Smarttask, you're welcome. The topic is a joke. The discussion is about a non-issue. Men reached the moon using hydrogen / oxygen combustion rocket engines and hydrogen / oxygen fuel cells. A much more interesting discussion would be "Will electric cars start popping like Sony laptops?" - since many are planning to use Lithium Ion batteries. But not Honda. Honda is sticking with tried and true metal hydride batteries. Now, what type of battery will the electric Smart be using? Hmm?
In auto repair shops I have twice seen hydrogen explosions...took the batteries apart and spread acid everywhere. In both cases, the batteries were being boosted/charged at an extremely high rate and there was a spark near the battery (one was a remote start button that the tech was 'bumping' the engine over on a compression test and the other was dumb handling of the charger cables). Both cases resulted in the techs being hosed down to remove acid.
Normal operation of the electrical system and venting makes this virtually impossible in our cars. Why would such an extreme worry even show up here?
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