Safety focus for new generation of vehicle carriers

Something good MAY come out of it:

I can understand why they want the battery disconnected for shipping used IC cars - but considering that the fire in Gainesville was “…an improperly disconnected battery…”, why not just mandate they be removed entirely? The cost of a new battery isn’t that large, and the safety benefit is considerable. Yes, there is a small additional amount of labor involved, but considering the cost of a fire…?
For EVs, the situation is different - the battery is a significant part of the value of the vehicle, so there it would make sense to demand a way of positively isolating the battery electrically (big honking plug/socket or whatever)

The cost of a new battery isn’t all that large. The time needed to take out several thousand batteries after loading the ship isn’t going to be cheap. Then you have to put them all back in on the other end. RORO’s (at least the ones I’ve worked) don’t have a quick/easy way of getting vehicles on and off the ship when they’re inop. It can be done, but it’s time consuming and time = labor = money.

I don’t doubt it would be a PITA, especially if the loading/unloading process is built around the self-propelled nature of the cargo. But if the insurance costs get high enough, maybe a way will be found :slight_smile:
Or maybe the costs of SAFELY shipping used cars needs to be absorbed by the shippers, instead of the marine insurers.
As a shade-tree electrician who has worked around large battery banks, it seems to me that if the economics were serious enough, ways could be found to electrically isolate batteries in vehicles that were intended for ocean (or worse, air) shipment. Something as simple as a 200amp connector between the battery and vehicle for IC vehicles, something more substantial (or perhaps higher voltage) for EVs.

None of this addresses the enormous hazard of what happens when these vehicles get loose, however. AFAIK, ALL battery chemistries are potential hazards if they are subjected to physical damage.

The policy of disconnecting batteries in ICE vehicles is for used cars only. The reason is the hazard of a possible short in the wiring harness, the standard 12-volt lead-acid battery itself is not considered a hazard.

A EV has two batteries, the high-voltage traction battery and a 12-volt standard car battery. When an EV is shut off the 12-volt systems isolates the high-voltage traction battery with relay of some sort so the traction battery is in fact electrically isolated.

If the 12-volt battery in an EV is dead the car will not start even with a fully charged traction battery.