The move to electric vehicles is not only revolutionizing the way we drive, but it is also reshaping the entire ecosystem of automotive logistics and delivery. From the manufacturing plants to the end consumer, the transition to EVs is impacting various aspects of transport, including supply chains, infrastructure development, and last-mile delivery solutions. This shift marks a pivotal moment in the history of automotive transport, as sustainability and environmental concerns drive the industry towards a cleaner and more efficient future, while vehicle technologies and pricing move the needle on vehicle transport from strict commodity purchase to premium service.
Here are the top 10 most common questions we get:
Step one is choosing a reputable transportation company with the experience and expertise in handing electric vehicles. We prioritize the safety and security of your EV throughout the entire journey by using trained personnel and proper strapping techniques, to ensure your vehicle remains securely in place. We also take precautions to maintain the battery health, keeping the charge level within the recommended range. Our commitment to open communication and attention to detail guarantees that your EV will be delivered in excellent condition.
Transporting EV or BEV batteries themselves requires careful handling and adherence to safety precautions due to the potential risks associated with lithium-ion batteries. But a few high-level recommendations include:
- Make sure you follow regulations and guidelines specific to battery transport in your region—things like packaging requirements, labelling and documentation can and do vary from place-to-place.
- Use approved packaging that provides protection against physical damage, short circuits, and thermal runaway
- Always do a visual inspection to ensure battery integrity. Look for visible damage or defects before transport such as signs of leakage, swelling or other abnormalities
- Disconnect and secure batteries (from EV or BEV) and ensure that it is secure in its packaging to prevent any accidental electrical connections or movements that could lead to damage
- Insulate terminals with electrical tape or terminal caps to prevent short circuits during transport
- Monitor temperature. Extreme heat and cold affect the performance of Lithium-Ion batteries
- Prevent damage. Avoid dropping or hard impacts and protect batteries from water and other liquids
- Training and expertise—if you are not experienced in handling and transporting lithium-ion batteries, consider seeking professional assistance or consulting a qualified transportation service
As a general trend, BEVs are typically heavier than their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) counterparts. BEVs can be anywhere from a few hundred pounds (100-200 kg) to over 1,000 pounds (450 kg) heavier than comparable ICE vehicles. This weight difference is primarily due to the weight of the battery pack, which is necessary to store the electrical energy required for vehicle operation. It’s important to note that weight and size restrictions for transportation can vary significantly between vehicle makes, models and mode of transportation. Consulting the relevant transportation authority or professional transportation service is advisable to ensure compliance with specific regulations in your area.
Ensuring the proper charging of an EV or BEV during transport can be challenging, as it may not always be feasible or necessary. However, if charging is required during transport or for specific situations, there are several options and considerations, among them:
- Plan the route with charging infrastructure: Research and identify charging stations compatible with your EV or BEV model(s) and ensure they are accessible
- Use portable chargers: Portable chargers, also known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), can be a practical solution and can be plugged into standard electrical outlets or generators to provide a charging source
- Transport with a charging trailer: In some cases, specialized charging trailers or mobile charging units can be utilized to provide power to an EV or BEV during transport. Consult with professional transportation services or the EV manufacturer to explore this option.
- Consult with EV manufacturers: Reach out to the manufacturer of your EV or BEV for specific guidance on charging during transport
- Maintain battery charge levels to avoid charging altogether. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery storage and maintaining the charge level within the recommended range (typically between 20-80%) before departing
Permits and licenses differ based on jurisdiction and mode of transportation. In North America, the requirements for the highway transport of BEVs varies significantly depending on your area. In the United States, commercial truck drivers generally need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with appropriate endorsements. Special permits may also be necessary for oversized or overweight loads. In Canada, regulations are governed by provincial or territorial motor vehicle transportation rules, where CDL or equivalent licenses are required. Additional permits may also be required for exceeding size or weight restrictions. It’s important to consult local transportation authorities for accurate and up-to-date information.
The best approach to any issue is proactive prevention. Take your time during pre-departure inspections and follow all recommended precautions. Additionally, maintaining open communication with your transport company, emergency responders, and relevant authorities is crucial. As a fleet manager, I can emphasize two key points: 1) Document any incidents thoroughly and 2) Learn from them. Whether it’s a minor incident or a major issue with lithium-ion batteries during transport, documenting the details and analyzing the causes provides valuable information for enhancing safety protocols, training programs, and preventive measures in future transports.
There is a lot to consider in an open question like this. Transporting damaged electric vehicles (EVs) or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) requires some special considerations due to the presence of high-voltage battery systems. For our drivers, we always advise they contact us prior to transport if they have any questions whatsoever. That said, there are several top-line steps that should always be followed, including:
- Prioritize personal safety by wearing all appropriate PPE before assessing the damage
- Assess the nature and severity of the damage to determine if the vehicle is safe for transport. If significant repairs are required, it is advisable to address them before shipping
- Disconnecting the battery and disabling the high-voltage system which can vary by manufacturer
- Secure any and all loose components
- Be sure to use the right trailer for transport- if there are any doubts or safety concerns about the move given the equipment you are driving, ALWAYS reach out to dispatch
- Follow any and all local regs for transporting damaged EVs—some jurisdictions can have specific rules
The common denominator for us at S1T, is that the single most important defense against a safety incident or vehicle damage is an open line of communication. If one of our drivers sees or suspects damage or a safety issue, first step is to inform us so we can help make the appropriate decisions and arrangements.
Maintaining the temperature of the battery during transport is crucial to ensure the battery’s optimal performance and longevity. As a company that specializes in EV transport, we train our drivers on industry recommendations and the steps that can be taken to help maintain battery integrity such as: pre-condition the battery to an appropriate temperature; maintaining ambient temperature as much as possible; avoiding direct sunlight by parking in a shaded area if possible during extended stops; monitoring temperature during stops, and basically following any specific manufacturer guidelines regarding battery temperature as we receive them.
Overall, the range of an EV or BEV is not a significant factor during transportation logistics since the vehicle is not actively using its battery power. The focus is primarily on ensuring safe handling, battery temperature management, and adherence to specific manufacturer guidelines for EV transportation.
Transporting electric vehicles often requires specialized equipment to ensure safe handling to protect the vehicles. The appropriate type of trailer, PPE, tie downs, winches, liftgates, ramps, charging equipment and in some cases, climate-controlled trailers can all become necessary depending on the product, manufacturer, length of haul and destination. As specialists in this area, Select 1 Transport has invested even further, by acquiring both open and enclosed trailers that are light weight and designed to handle low clearance vehicles to reduce the possibility of undercarriage (battery pack) damage during loading and unloading.
Future topics for 10 Questions with Select 1 Transport include EV Specialty Transport; How to Differentiate Yourself as a Transport Service; Monitoring and Reducing Transport Fleet Carbon Emissions; EV and BEV Battery Tech; How the Transport Business Writ Large is Changing; The Future of the Vehicle Transport Industry and more. If you have a question on these or any other Transport or Logistics topic, there are a couple ways you can ask it:
- Call (734) 263-1821 and leave us a VM Along with your question, be sure to leave your name and industry title, if appropriate
- Record a voice memo on your smart phone and email it to: 10Questions@s1g.com
- Fill out the form below: