Sometimes your eBike will need a new battery. Or, if you’re moving to a new part of the country you might want to ship the battery ahead so that you don’t have to worry about taking care of it in transit. You may even want to ship your bike and battery for a long vacation or to the next set of bike trails you want to explore.
The problem is that shipping your eBike or even just the battery can be a difficult process, and there are different regulations you have to follow for shipping batteries than other kinds of cargo.
Don’t get stuck in the confusing rules of how to ship your battery across the country. Here’s how you can ship your bike’s lithium-ion battery.
Why Should You Be Careful Shipping Your Electric Bike’s Battery?
One of the first questions many eBike enthusiasts find themselves asking when they discover that their bike’s battery needs special treatment is why?
Let’s start with the basics. All Lithium-Ion batteries are considered dangerous goods by the US Postal service. That doesn’t mean that the postal service won’t take those packages. Instead, it means that there needs to be some extra care taken with the battery in transit.
Batteries have a lot of problems that can come from shipping. Some of the most common issues are short-circuiting along the route and causing damage to the battery itself or to the device it’s installed in.
But more extreme issues can also happen, including combusting while the battery is shipping, potentially damaging both the battery and any other packages it’s stored with.
What’s Different About Bike Batteries?
If all batteries are considered potentially dangerous goods, including the lithium-ion batteries in your phone and laptop, why is your eBike battery treated any differently?
Well, the first reason is that your eBike’s battery has a lot more power than most of the lithium-ion batteries in your personal electronics. That larger size means that your batteries are more vulnerable to the kinds of failures and problems that can happen in shipping.
The larger size of the batteries also makes them more destructive if they do fail.
Think about it, you’ve got a lot more power in those batteries than the little batteries for your phone. The kinds of fire your bike’s battery can start is likely to be a lot bigger and a lot harder to put out than a smaller battery.
Your battery isn’t likely to be over the size limitations for domestic shipping, but it will need special labeling and packaging to help protect it. You may also encounter more problems if you’re trying to ship your battery internationally.
How to Get Your Battery Ready To Ship
There are some specific requirements that you need to meet to be able to safely ship your battery and to get your battery accepted by your carrier. Your shipping company does have the right to turn away your packages if they aren’t packaged safely or if they suspect that you haven’t followed their guidelines for safely packaging the battery.
Picking Your Carrier
The first thing you need to do is choose the right carrier for your battery. There are lots of options out there, but you need to pick a carrier that you know will be careful with your battery and that has safety precautions in place for shipping Lithium batteries.
For instance, it’s not recommended to ship batteries by flight, so your carrier should have some options for overland shipping that will protect both their staff and your battery from damage.
Here are some of the best options:
These carries are all big enough that they can afford to take a few extra precautions with their packages. They’re also big enough to be comfortable turning away poorly packed packages, which means that your battery is also safer from other packages.
The main requirements for most carriers are that your battery must be packaged safely and that it must be labeled that the package contains a lithium battery. Some carriers may also ask if you have a lithium-ion battery or a lithium-anode battery.
Anode batteries are considered a little more volatile in shipping, and carriers are more likely to refuse to ship an anode battery or to have specific packaging requirements before they will accept a lithium anode battery for shipment.
You will need to disconnect the battery from any device it’s shipped with. So you cannot ship the battery connected to its charger. Even if you are shipping both the bike and the battery, you cannot ship them connected, and will probably be asked to provide separate packaging for the battery.
You should also know that lithium batteries cannot be shipped at all if they are damaged. Even minor damage can cause a serious safety hazard, so it’s better to dispose of a damaged battery and replace it at the new location than to try and take it with you.
Like any good regulation, failure to package and label your battery appropriately can have consequences. Dangerous goods are subject to a lot more scrutiny in the shipping process than other packages, so your package is a lot more likely to be inspected for problems with compliance and just to make sure that it’s still safe.
Fines for non-compliance can quickly run into the thousands of dollars, especially if your violation might endanger other cargo or the employees helping to ship your goods.Last updated on: