New rules for electric vehicles on Chinese rails, this time official

Electric car

From January 30, new energy vehicles transported in China will no longer be included in the category of dangerous goods. Transport was already possible and happening, but with this latest backing of the Chinese government it is official, inclusive of a detailed list of what can and cannot be done.

The new rules were announced by the State Railway Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the China State Railway Group on 30 January, reports our sister publication RailFreight.cn. They apply to hybrid and fully electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.

The rules apply only to transport carried within China, whereas the transport across its borders falls under different rules. Outside China, the cars may still be classified as dangerous goods. However, the transport of electric vehicles was until now only restricted in China, and not in other countries on the New Silk Road.

The rules

The document also issued the corresponding standard railway transport conditions, specifically the following three:
(1) When consigning new electric vehicles, the consignor shall provide with an ex-factory certificate, unless its an export product.

(2) The state of charge of the battery and the state of the fuel tank. The state of charge of the power battery of the electric vehicle shall not exceed 65 per cent. The fuel cover is closed, and there is no leakage or leakage problem. It is not allowed to fill or extract fuel during railway transportation.

(3) Spare batteries and other batteries shall not be carried in addition to the assembled batteries and no other items may be loaded in the interior or trunk of the electric vehicle. One can conclude from the document that batteries still cannot be transported by rail alone.

At expense of other cargo

Since the Ministry of Commerce issued a document in September last year to support the export of new energy vehicles, there has been a boom of electric vehicles made in China and transported by rail with the China Railway Express. With a measure such as the exemption of having the ex-factory certificate for export products, the Chinese government is showing its backing of this new trade product. This is especially true considering that acquiring such a certificate was not such a difficult task, industry experts explain.

The preferential treatment is not welcomed by everyone. As electric vehicles are prioritised in terms of space as well, it comes with less capacity for other, less valuable cargo, which has fought for its position on rail, says Bria Liu, the general manager of TopRail. “It is not worthwhile to give up all the spaces to large and medium-sized goods.

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Author: Chengfan Zhao

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New rules for electric vehicles on Chinese rails, this time official | RailFreight.com