How to ship an electric car

How to ship an electric car


If you’re a committed electric car owner, it’s critical that you make the most of your eco-friendly investment. The maximum driving range of an EV is generally a few hundred miles, making super-long journeys a bit of a nightmare. One way to ensure you can take your electric car with you wherever you go is to take advantage of electric car transport.

Use a cross-country auto transport service, and you’ll be able to make the best use of your electric vehicle. This applies whether you’re relocating, moving locations because of a promotion, heading south for the winter, north for the summer, or you’ve bought your electric car online.

How many electric cars are there? You might find the figures below quite surprising:

In 2018, there were a million electric cars on US roads. It is expected that the annual sales of EVs will reach the 1.4-million mark which means there will be more than 18 million electric cars in the US alone.

How to ship an electric car

The process of shipping an electric car is easier than you think. It works much the same way as shipping a regular car, but you’ll need to make sure the battery is fully charged, and the carrier’s driver has access to the vehicle's key card.

Basically, the process goes like this:

  • You find the right auto transport company for your needs.
  • You get a free instant quote and book your order.
  • Your EV is collected from your door.
  • Your EV is delivered to your door.

In this article, we’re going to look at the process in more detail, so you know exactly what to expect.

Find the right auto transport company

How to transport electric vehicle

When you want to transport an electric vehicle from one location to another, you must find the most reliable company to do it. You’ve made a significant investment in your electric car, so you want to feel confident you’re getting the best electric vehicle transport service. 

There’s probably nothing worse than several sleepless nights lying awake worrying about damage, overcharging, and whether your EV will arrive on time. What you need is a professional company you can trust. 

Find the right one, and you know they’ll handle your shipment correctly because they’ve got the knowledge and experience to provide a service that’s smooth and stress-free.

What should you be looking for if you want a company that ticks all the right boxes? Let’s explain.

  • Experience: How many years an electric vehicle transport company has been operating is a good indicator that when you ship an electric car to another location, it’ll be a positive experience. A general rule of thumb to apply in this case is a minimum of 5 years in the business.
  • Professional staff: Your electric car is possibly one of your most valuable possessions, so it’s only natural to want to check on its progress regularly. Good customer service is critical. It should include 24/7 availability, timely updates, prompt communication, and always putting the customer first. 
  • Affordable rates: Price is something you should always consider, but don’t base your choice on price alone. We’ve all heard the phrase “You get what you pay for''. It rings true for the auto transport industry. A quality service at an affordable price is much better than opting for the cheapest option. 
  • Trustworthiness: You can gauge how trustworthy a company is by reading reviews, ratings, and existing customer stories. 24/7 communication, swift responses to any queries, an uncomplicated quote process are also good indicators.
  • Company registration: To operate legally as an auto transport company, all car shipping companies have to register with the US Department of Transportation. When you arrange to ship an electric car, make sure you check the status of the company’s registration. You can do this by visiting the DOT website. On this site, you’ll also find information relating to the company’s safety record. 
  • Transparency: Before you make a booking, it’s essential to find out everything you can about how to ship an electric car and the company you’re using. Factors to look for include full insurance coverage, $0 upfront payments, and no hidden fees.

It’s essential to focus on what a company can do for you when working out how to move an electric car. There are lots of companies to choose from, and they vary with regards to the transport types and quality of service. 

Once you’ve got a few names on your list, contact them all and request quotes. Spend time talking to the company representatives, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With all the correct information, you can narrow down your search and make an informed decision.

How much does it cost to ship an electric car?

The average price to ship an electric car to another state is around $1 per mile. This rate is applicable for distances under 500 miles. For longer distances, for example, 1,000 miles or more, this rate drops to just $0.60 per mile. Bear in mind, however, that this is just an average figure. How much you have to pay depends on several factors. Let’s look at these in more detail.

  • Distance: If the length is shorter, it will cost less. The rate per mile is lower for longer distances, but the overall cost is higher.
  • Pick-up and delivery locations: More carriers operate between urban and metropolitan areas, which means the cost tends to be lower than in rural locations.
  • Vehicle make and model: Larger and heavier cars tend to cost more. This is because the carrier has to transport fewer cars to keep within weight restrictions. 
  • Type of auto transport service: There are many types of auto transport service to choose from. The most popular is open auto transport, while enclosed car transport is a service that offers added protection and security but at a higher cost. Some of the other auto transport options we’ll look at a little later. 
  • Condition of the vehicle: When you request a quote, you’ll be asked whether your car is operable or inoperable. The cost to transport an operable vehicle is more affordable. An inoperable vehicle requires special equipment for loading and unloading, which adds to the overall cost.
  • Time of the year: If you ship your electric car during the summer months, it costs less than the winter. This is because ice and snow lead to increased prices.

Getting a quote

If you want to know exactly how much it will cost to ship an electric car, why not use our instant quote calculator. You also have the option of speaking with a member of our shipping team directly. Pick up the phone and dial (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat.

How long will it take to ship an electric car?

How long it takes to transport an electric vehicle depends on several different things. On average, it can take anything from 1 to 6 days, depending on the pick-up and delivery locations. A driver can cover around 500 miles a day, but the following factors can affect the final timeline.

  • Distance: The longer the distance between pick-up and delivery locations, the more time it will take to deliver your car.
  • Location: it’s much quicker and easier for a carrier to move an electric vehicle if the pick-up and delivery locations are along a major interstate highway or near a metropolitan area.
  • Weather: The flow of traffic and the speed at which a carrier can transport an electric vehicle is affected by the weather, in particular, ice, hail, snow, thunderstorms, a hurricane, or a tornado.
  • Issues on Route: Road construction, heavy traffic, and detours can hamper the driver’s progress.
  • Driver’s hours: To ensure truck drivers are safe to drive and well-rested, they can only be on the road for 70 hours per week. The Department of Transport sets this limit.

What are the transport options?

Most auto transport companies offer open or enclosed auto transport. Which one is right for you depends on several things. 

Open car transport

Open car transport makes up a large percentage of car transport services and is one of the cheapest ways to ship a car across the country. Carriers can move as many as ten vehicles at the same time. However, vehicles on the trailer are exposed to the elements, traffic, and road grime. Nevertheless, it is a very safe and secure way to transport an electric vehicle.

Enclosed auto transport

Your car is completely protected from weather conditions, dirt, debris, and other elements with this option. There is, however, an extra cost to consider. Covered or enclosed auto transport costs between 30% and 40% more than open car transport but is recommended if you want to ship a vehicle that’s classic, vintage, luxury, custom, or high-end.

Other auto transport services

Alongside open car transport and enclosed auto transport, here are some more options when you want to ship your electric car:

  • Express car shipping: Sometimes, you might need to transport an electric car at the last minute or need it to be at a specific location by a deadline. Express car shipping caters to both these situations. What it means is that the carrier will pick your electric vehicle up within 1-2 days. 
  • Guaranteed pick-up: If you’re pushed for time or need to make specific arrangements, this service means you make your booking with a 24-hour window.
  • Terminal-to-terminal: If you book this type of service to transport an electric vehicle, the carrier will transport your car from one storage facility to another. You will have to get your vehicle there first and arrange for a ride home. You’ll also need to get to the terminal to collect your vehicle. Both these extra journeys add to the price and inconvenience. We generally wouldn’t recommend this service, and we’ve written a blog to explain why

Getting your electric car ready for shipping

As soon as you’ve made your booking, there are several things you need to do to prepare your electric vehicle for its journey.

  • Clean inside and wash the exterior: This will show up any dings, dents, scuffs, or scratches. Take a photograph of these for your records.
  • Ensure your EV battery is fully charged: This means the driver will be able to drive your electric vehicle on and off the transport trailer.
  • Remove all your belongings: Don’t forget to empty the glove compartment and the trunk. You should also remove any parking passes or toll road beepers.
  • Perform a maintenance check: Your electric vehicle must be in a safe, working condition. Check tires, fluids are correctly topped off, brakes are operational, and there are no leaking fluids.

Finally, when the carrier collects your electric car, make sure the driver has access to any key card they might need to drive the vehicle. 

What documents do I need?

Some cross-country auto transport companies require reams of paperwork. That’s not the case here at SGT Auto Transport. However, this doesn’t apply if you want to ship your electric vehicle from Hawaii to the mainland. You’ll need to provide the following:

  • Ownership documentation such as copies of the title of the vehicle or ownership documents. If the electric vehicle is still under a lien, you might need to provide a letter of permission from the lien holder.
  • Registration and insurance.
  • Identification: This must be a valid picture ID or identification card.
  • Booking reservation number.
  • If you can’t be present when your vehicle is shipped, the person acting on your behalf will need a power of attorney.

What to do when your vehicle arrives

When your EV arrives at the delivery location, the driver will first check your ID to make sure it matched the Bill of Lading.

The driver will then unload your EV, and you’ll be allowed to inspect your vehicle’s exterior and interior thoroughly. The car shipping company driver will check with you.

After the inspection, you sign the Bill of Lading to accept your car.

Why ship an electric car?

When you’ve purchased an electric car, it’s a sizable investment, which warrants extra protection. Driving an electric vehicle across the country might not be an option. Charging stations aren’t quite as common as conventional gas stations, making the logistics of planning such a road trip challenging. 

If you’re wondering how to move an electric car, transport it with an auto transport company because it’s the safest, fastest, and more affordable option to get your vehicle to its final location.

Let’s look at a few more reasons why you should choose to transport an electric car.

  • Shipping an electric vehicle rather than driving it yourself is much more convenient. It’ll avoid any potential dangers and unnecessary wear and tear to the vehicle. 
  • When you transport an electric vehicle, the auto transport company will ensure your vehicle is safe and secure throughout its entire journey, whether you’re shipping from city to city, across state lines, or cross country.
  • Electric vehicle transport is a way to ensure complete peace of mind. Leave the logistics to professional cross country auto transport companies like SGT Auto Transport.  

What are the benefits of shipping your electric car?

Benefits of shipping your electric car

If you’re wondering how to ship an electric car from A to B, let’s reveal some of the benefits of an electric vehicle transport service.

  • Saves time: Driving yourself can take days, possibly even a week or more, depending on the distance. Have you got that amount of free time? Use an auto transport company to ship your electric car, and you’ll be able to schedule your shipment at a time that suits you. All you need to do is make sure you’re available to accept delivery of your EV.
  • Much less stress and planning: An electric vehicle transport company will make all the necessary arrangements for you. You’re not going to need to worry about preparing your vehicle for such a long journey or working out where to charge up the battery along the way.
  • Your vehicle will be protected: Driving your car several thousand miles means your EV has to endure a considerable amount of wear and tear, especially the battery. Ultimately, this will affect the resale value of your car, lead to costly repairs, and possibly even increase the cost of your insurance coverage.
  • It’s a convenient and safe option: When you drive long distances, it puts you and your family at risk of an accident. Sitting in one position also puts pressure on your body. Let a carrier transport your electric car, and you can travel in comfort by plane, train, or bus.
  • You’ll save money: if you ship your electric vehicle rather than drive it, you’ll save money on travel expenses, plus there will be no maintenance or repair bills to pay. You won’t have to use up your valuable vacation time, take money off work, or lose wages. 
  • You can ship an electric vehicle from door-to-door: Many car shipping companies offer a door-to-door service. When the carrier comes to pick up your EV, they’ll come as close as possible to your home. They’ll also drop it off as close to your chosen destination as possible.
  • Multiple vehicles can be shipped: if you’ve got more than one EV or an EV and a conventional car, you have the option of including more than one vehicle in the shipment. 
  • Reliable and professional service: Carriers used by companies like us are subject to various background checks. This means that you know your EV is being shipped safely and securely, the carrier uses the right equipment, and knows how to treat your electric vehicle with the care it deserves. You can also be sure your car will arrive on time, and there will be no complications.
  • Competitive rates and attractive discounts: To help you save money, many electric vehicle shipping companies offer attractive discounts and competitive rates. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we offer discounts for retired and serving members of the military and upon request for returning snowbirds.

Are there any other options for shipping an electric car?

Using an auto transport company is by no means the only option if you’re wondering how to ship an electric car. Let’s share some of the alternatives.

Drive your EV yourself

This might seem like a very obvious option, but there are a few reasons why it falls short when you compare it with electric vehicle transport.

If you’ve got the time, it could be worth considering, but extra charges mean it’s not as cheap as you think. If you’re doing all the driving, you’ll have to take regular stops along the way, and that might include overnight accommodation. You’re also going to need to eat and drink, which adds to the overall price. 

Something else you need to think about is that you’ll need to find regular EV charging points along the way. 

Driving long distances is also very stressful, and the risk of being involved in an accident increases. Sitting behind the wheel of a car for hours at a time is not good for your health

Use a car trailer or dolly

Using a car trailer or a dolly is a possible option if you need to ship more than one vehicle. One significant advantage is that you may carry extra cargo, although you would have to make sure you don’t exceed towing weight limits.

Towing an electric vehicle, however, does come with a considerable disadvantage. It’s something that requires practice, especially when it comes to reversing and maneuvering. 

There are also additional costs involved, such as food and accommodation, gas (if you’re towing with a conventional car), plus you’ve got to pay the cost of hiring a trailer.

Hire a driver

With this option, you can hire someone directly or use a third-party company. You will need to find someone you can trust to drive your electric vehicle, which can be pretty challenging.

The cost of hiring a professional driver to drive your EV tends to be higher than using a cross-country auto transport provider. You’re also putting additional wear and tear on your vehicle.

Send it by train

You might not realize but shipping a car by train is often cheaper than many other options. However, this doesn’t apply when you compare it with auto transport.

Shipping a car by train is not as convenient as you have to get your vehicle to the station and then collect it at the other end. Both extra journeys add to the overall cost.

The time it takes for such a service is another disadvantage worth taking into account. Shipping by train takes a long time, and it’s not a flexible service.

SGT Auto Transport is a nationwide auto transport management company, and we have years of experience in the industry. We’ve been shipping all kinds of cars across the country for several years, and that includes electric vehicles. If you want to make arrangements to ship your electric vehicle, please get in touch today. You can call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 

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