As Kenya and the world gear up for the electric mobility transition that has seen European carmakers ease the production of fuel-powered vehicles, safety concerns for drivers and other road users continue to increase.
The largest economies are quickly turning away from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles to battery-powered electric vehicles.
The battery pack of electric vehicles is one of the most significant concerns, resulting in a significant amount of damage to both people and property.
Some global automakers have taken flak with scathing media headlines about reported battery fires. Tesla, Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Ford are among the manufacturers who have made their mark on the market. Drivers and road users are likely to be at risk due to the burning of the lithium batteries used.
When failure occurs, the thermal runaway process of lithium-ion and lithium-metal cells is known to occur.
The release of flammable gas from thermal runaway leads to a rapid increase in battery cell temperature and pressure, accompanied by the release of flammable gas.
In practice, these batteries are safe, but fire hazards occur when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water, or damaged.
The players in Kenyan e-mobility sector say there is no cause for alarm.
'' An issue with one of the cells in the batteries will automatically cut off,' he adds.
The use of lithium ion phosphate batteries is safer for home use and they have a longer life span compared to lithium ion batteries.
While lithium-ion batteries are supercharged, they are highly unstable in high temperature environments.
EV company Roam chief marketing officer Albin Wilson says they have'safety triggers if something went wrong with the batteries, which means we have temperature control, current control, extended life testing over time to know how a battery will perform over time'.
The National Fire Prevention Association found that firefighters at the test site needed to flow large amounts of water on the batteries, as fire kept flaring even after it appeared to be extinguished.