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Interpretation Response #09-0210 ([A123 Systems] [Mr. C. Michael Hoff])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: A123 Systems

Individual Name: Mr. C. Michael Hoff

Location State: MA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

November 4, 2009




Mr. C. Michael Hoff

Director Product Safety and Compliance

A123 Systems

10 Avenue E

Hopkinton, MA 01748

Ref. No. 09-0210

Dear Mr. Hoff:

This responds to your September 16, 2009 email requesting clarification of the requirements for lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask whether an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) device containing a lithium-ion battery that has been tested in accordance with

§ 173.185 must also be tested. You suggest that our March 5, 2008 letter (Ref. No. 07-0198) creates some confusion on this issue.

The answer is no. A UPS, or any other electronic equipment containing a lithium battery, is not subject to the testing requirements for lithium batteries specified in § 173.185.

The interpretation provided in our March 2008 letter responded to questions about nonspillable (wet electric storage) batteries contained in equipment, and secondarily whether a UPS is equipment for purposes of the HMR. Although the § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) includes the hazardous materials description for "Battery-powered equipment," § 172.102(c)(1), Special provision 134 assigned to this description limits the application of this entry to items such as electrically-powered cars, lawn mowers, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids. Thus, for lack of a more appropriate hazardous materials description to describe a nonspillable battery contained in a UPS and to ensure correct referral to authorized packaging for nonspillable batteries in § 173.159 rather than referral to transportation requirements for battery-powered equipment in § 173.220, it is the opinion of this Office that a UPS containing a nonspillable battery could be viewed as a battery and appropriately described by the battery type housed in the UPS.

With respect to a lithium-ion battery contained in a UPS, the § 172.101 HMT includes the hazardous materials description "Lithium batteries, contained in equipment" that appropriately describes lithium-ion batteries contained devices such as a UPS and appropriately refers to authorized packaging in § 173.185. In addition, for the description "Battery-powered equipment," packaging and transport requirements in § 173.220 include specific provisions pertaining to lithium batteries. These requirements include: (1) lithium batteries contained in vehicles or engines must be of a type that have successfully passed tests in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria as specified in § 173.185; and (2) equipment, other than vehicles or engines, containing lithium batteries must be transported in accordance with § 173.185. Therefore, the UPS device containing a lithium battery that has successfully passed tests in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria is not itself subject to testing.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.


Charles E. Betts

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.185, 173.220, 173.159

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.102 Special provisions
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries