Transporting an electric vehicle is not as complicated as it may seem. Of course, like any vehicle transport, there are specific preparations that you’ll need to address. Aside from this, the process of moving an electric car is pretty straightforward. From choosing the right shipping company to properly preparing the vehicle for its journey, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about transporting an electric vehicle. So, let’s dive right in.

Methods of Transport

Believe it or not, there are multiple ways to transport an electric car. Of course, you can handle the transport yourself and drive the vehicle to its final destination. However, the costs that you’ll incur on the road can add up and there are a lot of safety risks involved with driving long distances. If you choose to hire a professional auto transport company, the shipping method will depend on the destination.

The page on A-1 Auto Transport website says that with domestic transport, you generally have the option of shipping via auto carrier or rail. Whereas, transporting an electric vehicle internationally must be done by either a plane or boat. Fortunately, moving an electric car is pretty similar to moving a traditional vehicle. This means that the transport methods that you have to choose from are largely the same.

Truck Transport

When it comes to transporting an electric vehicle via auto carrier, you essentially have two options: open-air transport and enclosed transport. In most cases, the option that you choose depends on the value of the car you’re shipping.

  • Open Carrier Transport: Open carriers are generally the most affordable option, as they offer the least amount of protection. Your electric vehicle will be placed on a carrier with 7 to 9 other cars, meaning it will be fully exposed to the conditions on the road. Although damage is rare, the car is unprotected against dust, debris, snow, rain, and inclement weather.
  • Enclosed Transport: With enclosed transport, on the other hand, your electric vehicle will be protected from road conditions. This is the safest and most secure option for transporting your car domestically. As such, enclosed transport is highly advised for antique, high-end, or any vehicle of high value. Though, this protection comes at a price. In fact, enclosed transport can be as much as 40% more expensive than open-air transport.

Cargo Ship Transport

For international shipments, the most common method involves your vehicle being transported on a cargo ship. With this option, you can choose between containerized shipping or roll-on roll-off shipping (RoRo). Container shipping means that your vehicle is secured in a cargo shipping container, which is loaded onto the transport ship along with other containers.

Roll-on roll-off transport, or RoRo, involves your electric vehicle being driven onto the ship, parked in a designated cargo area, and secured to the deck for international transport. This is the most common option for international auto shipping, as it is more affordable that containerized shipping. Though, the drawback is that it offers little protection for your vehicle.

Air Freight Transport

Air freight can be used to transport an electric vehicle domestically or internationally. However, this method is often reserved for elite transporters. Those that opt for this method usually have a sports car or classic car that is virtually priceless. Shipping an electric car is wildly expensive, but if you need to transport your vehicle quickly over a long distance, it may be your only option.

How to Prepare Your Electric Vehicle for Transport

You cannot safely and effectively transport an electric vehicle without preparing it properly first. In fact, a number of shipping companies will actually refuse to ship an electric car if it’s not correctly prepped for relocation. Preparation is particularly important if you are moving the vehicle to a different state or overseas.

For these types of relocations, you typically need to fill out some additional paperwork. So, before you do any preparing, it’s crucial that you have all the necessary paperwork for auto transport. This includes, but may not be limited to, insurance coverage and all the legal paperwork for the vehicle. Once you’ve located all the required paperwork, you can move on to the rest of the preparation steps:

1. Clean the vehicle

Just like if you were shipping any other car, you want to make sure that both the inside and outside of your electric car is spotless. Washing the exterior helps reveal damage that you may not have seen otherwise, making the rest of the process much easier.

Also, be sure to remove any personal items from the interior of the car. Transport companies are not licensed to move household items, meaning they are not covered if they go missing or incur damaged.

2. Charge the battery

When transporting typical vehicle, you need to make sure that the gas tank is only ¼ full. However, electric vehicles don’t have this problem. Instead, you must ensure that the battery is fully charged. That way, the car has some juice when it arrives at its final destination.

3. Perform necessary maintenance

Before transport, all vehicles must have a routine maintenance inspection done. During this inspection, the goal is to make sure that the vehicle is in good working condition. Inspect for leaks, check the tire pressure, and top off all fluids. While there is generally less to check with electric cars, this step should still never be neglected.

4. Document pre-existing damage

After you wash your car, take photos of its current condition, paying special attention to damage on both the interior and exterior. When you are reunited with your vehicle, you can use the photos as reference and compare them to the final condition. While you may not end up needing the pictures, they will certainly come in handy if you need to file a claim because of damage during transport.

5. Remove aftermarket parts

If necessary, take some additional time to remove any aftermarket components you have on your vehicle. You should also deactivate any anti-theft systems and automatic toll passes prior to transport.

How to Hire a Professional Electric Vehicle Transport Company

To ensure the safety of your electric vehicle, it is crucial that you choose your transport company carefully and that they are licensed by the FMCSA. The key to finding a reliable shipping company is doing thorough research and beginning your search as early as possible. Gather shipping estimates from at least three companies so you can do a proper comparison. Keep in mind that the lowest rate may not always be the best, which is why research and reading reviews is so important.

Considering the fact that electric vehicles are often very expensive, if you want yours to remain in pristine condition, you need to choose an experienced, reliable, and well-equipped auto transport company.