USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #05-0278 ([Regulatory Resources, Inc.] [Mr. Bruce McLees])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Regulatory Resources, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Bruce McLees

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Sep 20, 2006


Mr. Bruce McLees                     Reference No. 05-0278
Sr. Quality Engineer
Quallion LLC
Sylmar Biomedical Park
12744 San Fernando Road
Sylmar, CA 91342-3728

Dear Mr. McLees:

This is in response to your November 2, 2005 letter concerning requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) for design-type testing of lithium-ion batteries. Please accept my apology for our delay in responding and any inconvenience this may have caused. In your letter you specifically request clarification concerning the tests applicable for your prototype lithium-ion batteries and cells. You state that you have been working on a variety of battery packs with 5 to 120 cells in a battery pack. The specific requirements you address are contained in Section of the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria and are implemented through the provisions of § 173.185 of the HMR. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below:

Q1:      Is testing of every lithium-ion battery pack configuration required or would the successful testing of the cells to the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria be sufficient?

Al:        Except for single cell batteries, each new lithium cell and battery design type is subject to the tests in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, even if the cells that make up the battery have been tested. A cell or battery is deemed to be “a new design type” if the change in mass to the cathode, anode or electrolyte is more than 0.1 grams or 20 percent, whichever is greater, or the change would materially affect the test results.

Q2:      Are there alternate shipping or packaging methods such as ground or special courier that could be used that would not require testing of each lithium-ion battery pack configuration?

A2:       The answer is no. There are no exceptions from the testing requirements in
§ 173.185(e) based on the mode of transportation or type of packaging used.

Q3:      May these prototype lithium-ion batteries be shipped by ground transportation as Class 9 for testing purposes under § 173.185(j) of the HMR?

A3:       The answer is no. According to your letter your batteries are not being shipped for testing purposes and therefore the exception in § 173.185(j) does not apply. Currently, there are no applicable exceptions for prototype lithium batteries and cells under the HMR similar to Special Provision 310 in the UN recommendations. Cells and batteries and equipment containing or packed with cells and batteries which do not comply with the provisions in § 173.185 may be transported only if they are approved by the Associate Administration.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if you require additional assistance.



John A. Gale
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries