ClassNK releases guidelines on the safe transportation of electric vehicles

In a bid to bolster the safety of maritime transportation of electric vehicles (EV) at a time of major concern for the shipping industry, ClassNK has unveiled a set of new guidelines and measures.

ClassNK has developed the Guidelines for the Safe Transportation of electric vehicles, which describes the characteristics of EV fires and provides guidance on how to respond, built upon dialogue with experts, operators, manufacturers, and other stakeholders.

Publishing these guidelines is a sensible move by ClassNK’s part given the surge of challenges presented by climate change and global warming, the export of hybrid and EVs powered by Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries. There exists a faction of industry insiders who argue that the transport of these vehicles may not be completely safe.

In the case of a thermal runaway, the risks are considerably amplified. This dangerous occurrence involves an uncontrolled escalation in temperature within the battery, resulting in a swift and forceful discharge of energy. The consequences of such an event can be dire, potentially leading to catastrophic explosions or fires.

“Controlling li-ion battery fires are almost impossible, once the fire catches on to nearby vehicles their frames melt and the work to extinguish is extremely challenging”, stated Henrik Meyer, senior quality manager, ports, terminals and stevedoring at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

The aim of the guidelines is to assist in the development of fire safety measures for the maritime transportation of EVs and, thus, enhance the overall safety of such transportation for not only ships themselves but also for their respective crews.

Download the guidelines: ClassNK Guidelines for Safely Transporting EVs

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