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Interpretation Response #12-0078 ([Rechargeable Battery Association] [Mr. George Kerchner])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Rechargeable Battery Association

Individual Name: Mr. George Kerchner

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 27, 2012



Mr. George Kerchner
Executive Director
Rechargeable Battery Association
1776 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Ref. No.: 12-0078

Dear Mr. Kerchner:

This responds to your March 19, 2012 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the lithium ion battery testing requirements. The requirements you address are contained in Section 38.3 of the United Nations (UN) Manual of Test and Criteria and are implemented through the provisions of § 173.185 of the HMR. Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. Section 38.3.3 of the UN Manual of Test and Criteria states "when batteries (comprised of successfully-tested component cells) that have passed all applicable tests are electrically connected to form a battery assembly in which the aggregate lithium content of all anodes, when fully charged, is more than 500 g, or in the case of a lithium ion battery, with a Watt-hour rating of more than 6,200 Watt-hours, that battery assembly does not need to be tested if it is equipped with a system capable of monitoring the battery assembly and preventing short circuits, or over discharge between the batteries in the assembly and any overheat or overcharge of the battery assembly."

Are Tests 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in Section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria the only applicable tests for batteries designed for use in a battery assembly over 6200 Watt-hours when the batteries are not equipped with overcharge protection and the battery assembly affords such protection?

A1. The answer is yes, provided that the component cells passed all applicable tests as required in Section 38.3.

Q2. If the answer to Q1 is yes, must the completed battery assembly be subjected to the Test 7 overcharge test?

A2. The answer is no. Per Section 38.3.3(d) of the UN Manual of Test and Criteria, when testing rechargeable batteries under Test 7, batteries not equipped with overcharge protection that are designed for use only in a battery assembly (which affords such protection) are not subject to the requirements of this test.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.



T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries