By: ALICIA FLORES
Safety precautions caused IU South Bend to ban “hoverboards” from River Crossing Campus Housing.
Indiana University implemented the ban just before the start of the spring semester.
Other universities across Indiana have also recently banned “hoverboards,” including Purdue University and Butler University.
The bans are being implemented due to reports of the product catching on fire as it is charging.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website, they are currently investigating at least 40 “hoverboard” fires in 19 states.
The cause of these fires is being investigated by the CPSC with focus on the lithium-ion batteries, according to CPSC’s website.
In response to the fires, Swagway is responding with a new version called, The Swagtron, expected to hit the market by April of this year, senior Stephen Kowalski said.
Kowalski is the director of marketing at Zake International, which is a local distributor of the brand Swagway.
“We are doing our best to recover by introducing the new model. We are doing everything we can and responding to the lithium-ion battery issue,” said Kowalski. The new model has specific technology to avoid lithium-ion meltdown, Kowalski said.
The new Swagtron will be completely flame retardant along with the foot pedals with improvements being made to the interior technology as well. Improvements to the older model, the Swagway X1 are also being made.
“We are addressing as many issues as we can from the older model by adding a huge amount of safety features,” Kowalski said.
The biggest problem Swagway has is being lumped into the category with all “hoverboards,” Kowalski said. All “hoverboards” are being called Swagways.
Swagway has no affiliation with the other brands being sold on the market. “They are generic…They don’t use name brand batteries. They don’t have the quality assurance programs that we do, and yet we are being lumped in the same category as these other companies,” Kowalski said.
Despite the recent bans and controversies surrounding the Swagways, business is going well with many college students being huge supporters, Kowalski said.
IU policy FIN-INS-13 on Bicycles and Similar Vehicles is being revised to include “hoverboards” and IU administration do recommend students wear helmets and pads to ensure safety as they are not banned throughout campus.