Electric Vehicle Battery Identification & Transportation, After Damage

Automotive batteries (12v, hybrid, and EV batteries) pose a risk if not properly prepared and transported, using all necessary standard operating procedures. This danger can be higher if the battery systems in the vehicles have been compromised in an accident. Lithium-ion batteries contain high energy and present electrical, chemical, and thermal hazards.

Before Vehicle Collection:

  • Identify the type of car: gas-powered, hybrid electric, plug-in electric, or fully electric. The VIN can be used to identify the type of car. If the car cannot be identified, assume it’s electric.
  • Hybrid electric (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV) should be marked with “HAZARDOUS VOLTAGE” warnings. 
  • Transportation drivers and loader operators should be trained on the potential dangers of HEV / EV batteries.
  • HEV / EV-specific personal protective equipment (PPE) should be available to all involved in the collection and intake of the vehicle.
  • Qualified personnel should assess the type of damage the vehicle has and identify any vehicle at high risk of having a compromised battery compartment.


During Vehicle Collection:

  • Proper PPE must be worn, and qualified personnel must be present.
  • HEV / EV “HAZARDOUS VOLTAGE” warning signs must be applied to multiple sides of the vehicle.
  • Qualified personnel should assess possible damage to batteries prior to loading the vehicle, and the transportation team should look for physical damage and symptoms (fire, discoloration of voltage cables).


Vehicle On-Site and Check-In:

  • Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s process to make the vehicle electrically safe.
  • Remove the hazardous voltage battery master disconnect service plug and zip tie it to the steering wheel.
  • HEV / EV should be placed in a segregated area awaiting final dismantling.
  • Removed high-voltage batteries must be safely stored to prevent the risk of thermal events.


Additional Training:

Awareness and in-person training are available through the Electrical Safety Foundation’s partners, the Recycled Materials Association:

Battery Safety Training