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I am interested in carrying my eBike battery with me on my next flights. I am a bit at loss about which regulations applies (in the EU, but also intercontinental flights, EU-Asia and EU-America).

Let's say the battery is characterized by being a 36 V battery with a capacity of 480 W·h 12.9 A·h.

Does every airline have different rules?

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    While carrying your battery as luggage isn't an option, depending on your travel plans and requirements, you may be able to ship it ahead to your destination via somebody like DHL, especially within a relatively small area like the EU.
    – Karen
    Apr 9 at 20:56
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    The fundamental problem here is that if the battery decides to go bonkers there's nothing that can be done in flight other than fighting fires that it lights. That's why they are categorically prohibited in cargo (this has brought down an airliner) and limited in carry-ons. The more energy in the battery the more potential for it starting fires. Apr 10 at 2:28
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    @Karen -- yeah, shipping it as DHL/UPS/FDX is the OP's best bet. HOWEVER, that'll be major $$$ as a battery that size (far in excess of 100Wh) must ship as fully regulated Class 9 hazmat/DG, which incurs a steep fee from the carrier. Apr 10 at 2:47
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    @Criggie from 3'000 to 12'000 km ... the ebike range is the usual 60-80 km ... if you are implying I should cycle the distance I would be in favour, although I do not have enough days off from work ;)
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 10 at 15:10
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    @UnrecognizedFallingObject It might be cheaper to buy a battery at the destination and then sell it afterwards! Apr 10 at 22:08

2 Answers 2

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It's not feasible to survey every single airline, but based on my intuition and confirmed by the sample I've checked, this battery is drastically too large (and therefore too dangerous) to bring on a passenger flight. The three airlines I checked: British Airways, Singapore Airlines and United all completely ban, from carry on and hold luggage, batteries over 160Wh. This isn't surprising since IATA makes this specific recommendation.

Batteries over 160Wh "Must be prepared and carried as cargo in accordance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations". Hence they cannot come as passenger baggage.

https://www.iata.org/contentassets/6fea26dd84d24b26a7a1fd5788561d6e/passenger-lithium-battery.pdf

IATA's recommendations are binding on their members, meaning this rule will be enforced by most major airlines. Your battery is three times as big as this. It is not coming with you.

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    Just note that a cargo plane crashed due to a pallet of batteries auto-igniting. Even though OP isn't carrying a pallet, people already died to this and IATA would take this very seriously.
    – Nelson
    Apr 10 at 1:15
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    Thanks a lot for the info and for the "mother" regulation reference. I discovered that at least one big bike manufacturer produces an additional battery "range-extender" that has a capacity of 160Wh. I have to check if it can work independently, without the reg.battery. Thanks again!
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 10 at 9:41
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    @EarlGrey Note that even at 160 Wh (anything above 100 Wh, really) the IATA regulation says "Operator approval required", which means you need to confirm with the carrier.
    – jcaron
    Apr 10 at 11:08
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica From the accident report, the pilot lost manual control and was trying to fly and land the plane using the auto-pilot, on top of the cockpit being filled with black smoke. I wouldn't fault the pilots too much here. Also, Li-Ion batteries do NOT extinguish in a vacuum, which is something that didn't exist when the protocols to use cabin depressurization to control fires were first created.
    – Nelson
    Apr 12 at 2:00
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Hindsight is 20/20, but the idea that a fire would burn uncontrolled and spread when vented at cruise altitude was not something anyone though of, that's precisely why it is so dangerous. People expect fires to be put out when you expose it to the low-oxygen environment of cruise altitude, but Li-Ion is uniquely NOT affected and would burn even in a vacuum, and can cause a chain reaction with other Li-Ion batteries via thermal runaway.
    – Nelson
    Apr 14 at 14:53
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MJeffryes is correct with his answer, that for all practical purposes, you will not be able to fly with your e-bike battery.

Even if you didn't ask: A solution to that problem if you want to bring your e-bike and have a detachable battery, is to leave the battery at home and rent one at your destination. They are for sure not very wide spread and it will probably only work if you have a bike with a common battery type like Bosch or eZee, but there are at least some places where you can rent e-bike batteries. Google for 'e-bike battery rental' at the destinations you are planning to go and see if you find any.

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    It is pretty niche since most people would just rent an entire e-bike at their destination. Apr 10 at 10:40
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    @Crazymoomin I've seen it quite a few times in Germany and a Google search seem to indicate that it is not too uncommon in other areas with lots of bicycle toruists. Here in Germany there are, or at least has been, networks of bicycle shops along popular routes offering battery rentals to allow bikers to rent a full battery at the start of a tour and then being able to replace an empty battery with a fully charged battery at every cooperating dealer during the rental period. Apr 10 at 11:40
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    A shop that rents e-bikes might respond positively to a request to rent batteries, even if it is not something they advertise.
    – avid
    Apr 10 at 12:20
  • @Crazymoomin yes but the good bike stores / rental places should have a spare battery or two. So while you would be doing an extra request, it should be feasible at least
    – Hobbamok
    Apr 10 at 14:26
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    OP said in a followup comment that they are not taking the bike, just the battery. (For some reason) Apr 10 at 18:28

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