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Interpretation Response #17-0071

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, LLC

Individual Name: Joe Shi

Location State: MI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 16, 2018

Joe Shi
A123 Systems, LLC
39000 Seven Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48152

Reference No. 17-0071

Dear Mr. Shi:

This letter is in response to your July 12, 2017, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the transportation of low production runs of lithium batteries.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask if the year for an annual low production run of lithium batteries corresponds to the calendar year (e.g., January 1 to December 31), or if it begins the date the manufacturer produces the first battery.

A1. The low production run year begins the date the manufacturer produces the first battery.

Q2. A manufacturer produces 150 batteries in a single run. You ask if the manufacturer may ship the first 100 batteries in accordance with the provisions in § 173.185(e) and the following 50 batteries under another authorized provision in § 173.185.

A2. The answer is no. Section 173.185(e) applies only to production runs of not more than 100 lithium batteries. If an annual production run is greater than 100 batteries, the exceptions in § 173.185(e) do not apply.

Q3. A manufacturer produces and assembles 150 batteries in a production run.  The first 100 batteries are shipped upon assembly, and the following 50 batteries are stored in the warehouse. In the following year, the manufacturer produces 45 batteries of the same type.  You ask if the 45 batteries produced in the second year may be considered a low production run and shipped under the provisions in § 173.185(e).

A3. Since more than 100 batteries were produced in the first year, those batteries may not be transported in accordance with § 173.185(e). Prior to transport these batteries must be must be of the type proven to meet the criteria in part III, sub-section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria as required by§ 173.185(a). In the scenario presented, the subsequent production run of the 45 batteries in the second year could utilize the provisions of § 173.185(e), although there is no need to do so.

Q4. Regarding the scenario in Q3, you ask if the 50 batteries from the first year that were stored in the warehouse may be shipped with the 45 batteries produced in the second year under the provisions in § 173.185(e).

A4. See A2 and A3.

Q5. A manufacturer produces over 100 batteries, but does not ship each one after assembly. You ask if the manufacturer may ship 100 batteries under the provisions in § 173.185(e) even if more than 100 batteries are produced during that year.

A5. The answer is no.  See A2.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.185(e), 173.185

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries