How To Ship UN 3171-Classified Battery Powered Vehicles – What You Need to Know

(22 December, 2022)


At Trans Rak, our racking systems are used by automotive logistics companies to transport all sizes of vehicles – but now the big question is asked about shipping battery-powered vehicles in containers, since 1st October 2022 with the approval to ship EVs in container out of China the demand for racks and containers has grown.

The Containerised Car Transport Guide

Battery-powered vehicles – classified as UN 3171 for transport purposes – include a wide variety of electric scooters, E bikes, diver propulsion vehicles and so-called hover boards. What most of these vehicles have in common is their dependence on lithium-ion batteries (classification UN3481) as their power source, as opposed to fuel cells, internal combustion etc.

What Are The Rules For Shipping UN 3171 Class Vehicles And Equipment?

If you are in the business of shipping, battery-powered vehicles by containerised freight, there are a few things you need to know in order to ensure compliance with UN 3171.

1) Lithium cells and batteries must be of a type that have successfully passed the applicable tests in Subsection 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.

2) All battery-operated vehicles of the UN 3171 class are included in the regulations. There is no exception for vehicles that contain lithium-ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh or less.

3) The ‘net quantity’ required on the Shipper’s Declaration for UN 3171 is the ‘net weight’ of the complete vehicle.

4) If the lithium battery is removed from the vehicle and packed separately from the vehicle in the same outer packaging, then as per Packing Instruction 952, the classification becomes UN 3481 (Lithium-ion batteries packed with equipment), or UN 3091 (Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment), as appropriate.

5) When transporting small, battery-powered vehicles containing lithium cells or batteries installed or packed with other goods (equipment), by lorry, shipping container, or rail, these packages must be prepared in accordance with Section IA of Packing Instruction 965.

Find Out More

Shipping battery-powered vehicles by containership requires compliance with UN 3171 standards. Non-compliance can create an electrical hazard that may result in accidents or fires, so it's important to be aware of the requirements and always be on the side of caution when preparing equipment for international shipping.

If you have any questions about transporting cars or electric vehicles in shipping containers, please contact us on +441926 408282.

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