Electric Vehicle Shipping
An electric car uses similar batteries to the rechargeable ones you can find in electronics stores. They are far bigger, but the material is the same.
However, similar to how the rechargeable batteries you place in a remote control are heavier than their one use counterparts, the batteries made of lithium ion used in hybrid cars are heavier as well.
Because of this, some auto transport companies charge more for hybrid / electric vehicle shipping. They argue it’s because of the need for more licensing, extra care and more equipment when moving batteries containing lithium ion.
Potential Dangers of Lithium Ion Batteries
Sometimes, laptops using lithium ion batteries burst into flames from overheating. Because of this, many people are concerned whether such batteries are safe for use in electric vehicles.
Batteries using lithium ion are preferred by cell phone and laptop manufacturers because of their great size to energy production ratio. However, because such a small object contains so much energy, they sometimes catch on fire.
Because the oxidizer and fuel are both contained inside the battery, the flames cannot be extinguished like normal ones. The temperatures generated can even melt aluminum, and the batteries may even explode.
When it comes to electric cars, the batteries are bigger and capable of a much larger explosion. Some companies, such as Tesla Motors, place the batteries, capable of taking a vehicle to 60 mph in 4 seconds, right behind the passengers. This is the root of most electric vehicle shipping companies’ concern.
However, Tesla Motors and similar companies have implemented several high tech safety mechanisms. Its engineers have created a liquid cooling system controlled electronically, 3 fuse layers, sensors which cause the batteries to disconnect if it reaches too high a temperature, protection in case of collisions, as well as overcharging protection. Even the decision to use smaller batteries stacked together instead of a big one was out of safety concerns. Every battery is isolated and covered in a steel case. For further protection, the entire system is encased as well.
So, the chances of something going wrong are extremely low. Unless a problem happens during manufacturing or multiple safety precautions get corroded over time and fail to work, you should be safe driving an electric vehicle.
Should you Pay More to have your Electric Vehicle Shipped?
Considering all of the above, are the auto transporters who charge more for electric vehicle shipping justified in doing so? The short answer is no.
Besides all the precautions electric car manufacturers take to make sure their products are safe to drive, we must also remember most risks associated with lithium ion batteries come from overheating during their use. During transportation, vehicles are not turned on, but are instead resting in a truck / ship / airplane. Therefore, there is no chance of the vehicle overheating.
The batteries may burst into flames in case of a collision, but considering the electric vehicle is inside a truck or ship, the impact on the vehicle and batteries will be cushioned greatly. Also, as explained above, the batteries are designed with safety measures in case of a collision.
Gasoline vs. Hybrid / Electric Vehicle Shipping
The chances of an electric vehicle bursting into flames when driven are few, and the chances of one exploding when transported are even fewer. Most often, companies who charge extra or refuse to transport electric / hybrid vehicles altogether, do so due to insufficient information. Because electric / hybrid vehicles are still in the minority, many auto shipping companies and mechanics haven’t encountered them.
Gasoline, hybrid and electric vehicle shipping is done the same way. All automobiles, regardless of type, must be loaded, transported and unloaded safely. The necessary safety measures are the same regardless of type.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.