Lithium-ion battery

Delivery companies like FedEx and UPS espouse the virtues of lithium ion batteries, but only when the packs are inside hybrid or electric vehicles. Delivering li-ion batteries is another story.

Li-ion batteries pose safety threats and additional challenges when the are being shipped because of their weight and potential flammability, Automotive News says, citing DHL head of automotive logistics Fathi Tlatli. The battery packs must be specially packed to ensure minimal temperature changes. Additionally, used battery packs must be shipped by ground, instead of air, because of their weight and safety threat.

The issue of li-ion safety has been an ongoing one, most recently popping up this spring when experts told the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that electric-vehicle adoption has been slowed in part by questions about lithium-ion batteries. One expert testified that about 25 percent of a typical li-ion battery is flammable, while incidents involving Mitsubishi, Fisker and even Boeing have further raised concerns about the safety of vehicles that use such batteries. Deaths potentially connected to li-ion battery fires in cars remain low in number, but there has been some damage.