Colonnade Insurance stands as a guardian of the rEVolution, ensuring that the transition to electric vehicles is not only smooth but safe. As the industry evolves, our commitment to innovation, learning from incidents, and proactive risk management will continue to drive the rEVolution forward, making electric vehicles a secure and sustainable choice for the future.

Driving the rEVolution

Since the 1980s, lithium-ion batteries have amazed us with their technology. In 2019, pioneers like Mr. Goodenough, Mr. Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino won the Nobel Prize for their contributions. Jump to 2022, the European Parliament decided that all new cars in Europe must be zero-emission by 2035, driving a shift to electric vehicles (EVs). This marks the beginning of the rEVolution. Despite their potential, lithium-ion batteries face challenges in manufacturing, storage, and daily use, especially during charging. Safety is crucial due to rare but challenging thermal runaway fires in EVs.

Insurance for safeguarding the future

Colonnade is at the forefront of the rEVolution by specializing in property and liability insurance for lithium-ion battery manufacturers, warehouses storing these batteries, plants that recycle lithium-ion batteries and locations where EVs (e-cars, e-scooters, e-bikes) are charged – including shopping malls and office buildings. With a dedicated risk engineering team of 12 experienced engineers spread across Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine we are actively involved in supporting our clients in developing robust safety procedures. The team's cumulative experience spans an impressive 128 years, utilizing knowledge gained from diverse countries and real-world incidents. 

Learning from real-world losses

We do not just rely on theoretical knowledge; we actively learn from real-world losses. The recent LG recall, where GM had to recall 143,000 Bolts due to lithium-ion battery fires, highlighted the potential magnitude of such incidents. The $2 billion cost emphasizes the financial impact of lithium-ion battery-related issues, making Colonnade's role in risk management crucial. Additionally, the team uses insights from incidents such as the LG factory fire in Seoul and the French lithium battery warehouse explosion to enhance safety protocols or the recent 2 cases against Volkswagen. The lawsuits claim that a battery made by Volkswagen for a Porsche electric car caused a fire on a huge cargo ship in 2022. The fire caused the ship to sink, and it had thousands of cars on it.

Adopting to the market’s urging needs

As EV charging points become more common these days, so we, as an insurer have seen a sudden increase in inquiries regarding their protection. Colonnade’s engineering team adapted quickly to the specific challenges, has developed safety procedures for EV charging. The focus is particularly on older buildings with outdated electrical installations, a structure not strong enough to cope with EVs (they are heavier than identical/similar gasoline cars) and fire protection systems that may not be adequately prepared for the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries.

We are also watching with great interest the development of lithium-ion batteries, e.g. the work on the solid electrolyte, that can make batteries safer.

Adam Grzybowski
Technical Risk Assessment Coordinator, the leader of the Risk Engineering Community