It’s no secret that lithium-ion batteries are volatile - just look at hoverboards, Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s, and even some iPhone models which have exploded. Granted that these are not so common occurrences, but the fact that they happen at all is still troublesome. Lithium-ion batteries are not the only type of rechargeable battery out there; why don’t electronics companies try a different type of battery, like nickel-cadmium, or nickel-metal hydride? Is there a benefit in using a lithium-ion battery, or does it just come down to what’s easier to mass-produce?
Li-ion is primarily chosen for higher energy density (by weight and volume), but also for higher power, higher voltage, more flexible form factor, cheaper and easier manufacture, more efficient charging, lower self-discharge, more cycles and higher reliability than most other battery types.
Why don’t electronics companies try a different type of battery, like nickel-cadmium, or nickel-metal hydride?
They have. Cadmium is a heavy metal, so Nicads are out. NiMH batteries were used in phones and laptops before Li-ion took over. Charging them was always a problem due to heat generation and the difficulty of accurately detecting full charge.
lithium-ion batteries ... have exploded. Granted that these are not so common occurrences, but the fact that they happen at all is still troublesome.
You know what's really troublesome?
Yet nobody is concerned enough to stop using gasoline, because its enormous energy density (effectively 20 times greater than Li-ion) is worth the risk.
They have high energy density (watt-hours/cubic meter and W-h/kg). They generally have a long life and the price is competitive. Some of the explosion problems have likely been due to poor battery design, poor load product design and poor manufacturing quality. If these problems are solvable or have already been solved by some manufacturers, that type of battery will regain its reputation.