electric vehicle

Shipping Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EV): 5 Questions and Concerns


Electric vehicles have been causing quite a buzz in recent years as an increasing number of people look for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. It might interest you to learn that sales of electric vehicles have increased by 75%, year-on-year. By 2040, Bloomberg predicts 58% of global auto purchases will be electric vehicles. 

Some of the biggest names in the auto industry (Toyota, Volkswagen, and Tesla) have also released electric models to the market to cater to the customer who wants more cost-effect and environmentally-friendly transport. 

But, what does that mean if you need to ship an electric or hybrid vehicle? In this post, we’ll explore the options, highlight any risks, and put your mind at rest regarding shipping such vehicles.   

What is an Electric Vehicle?

An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as a battery-electric vehicle, has an electric motor rather than an internal combustion engine. EV’s use a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor. 

You charge the battery by plugging it into a wall outlet or charging equipment called electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). 

Vehicles that run on electricity have no exhaust from a tailpipe and don’t contain the typical fuel components, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank.   

What is a Hybrid Vehicle?

A hybrid electric vehicle is powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. You don’t plug hybrid electric vehicles in to charge the battery. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine.

The added power provided by an electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine. The battery can also power auxiliary loads and reduce engine idling when stopped. These features combine to improve fuel economy without sacrificing performance.   

Is a hybrid considered an EV

A hybrid is technically a type of EV but doesn’t have the option of charging the battery using an external power source. However, there are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). This type of hybrid vehicle is gasoline-powered but has a much larger battery, and a means to recharge it using an external power source. 

A plug-in hybrid behaves much like an electric vehicle in that its gasoline engine is essentially dormant when the battery has a charge. The engine comes to life when the battery runs down, allowing the vehicle to continue on its journey interrupted as a regular gasoline hybrid.

What is the difference between hybrid and electric vehicles?

The main difference between hybrid and electric cars is how each is powered. A hybrid switches seamlessly between electric energy and a blend of petrol and electric power, whereas an electric vehicle runs on battery power alone.  

How are electric vehicles transported?

If you’re the proud owner of an electric vehicle and need to get it transported across the country, the process may seem overwhelming. Traveling long distances in an electric vehicle, compared to a regular, gas-powered vehicle, can be challenging if you’re thinking about driving yourself.

The network of charging stations is growing in major metropolitan areas across the US, but finding a place to charge in rural locations can be difficult. This fact alone makes transporting your vehicle by driving it yourself almost impossible. 

So, is there another option? Yes, there is, and this is where auto transport companies come in. You might be thinking that the process of shipping your vehicle with a professional shipping company is very daunting, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. 

There are special preparations you’ll need to do, but overall, the process is straightforward and very similar to shipping a traditional vehicle.

What’s different about shipping a hybrid or electric vehicle?

The major difference in shipping an electric car relates to the battery. Electric vehicles use large batteries for power, and they can increase the overall weight of an electric or hybrid car quite significantly.

Because of the larger battery and increased weight, many vehicle transport companies will charge you more to ship a hybrid or electric car. In some cases, the carrier may also need to practice extra care, obtain special licensing, and have different equipment to safely move lithium-ion batteries.

While the odds of a lithium-ion fire are low, overly hot or damaged/pierced electric batteries can be just as incendiary as their fossil-fueled cousins.

The careful shipping of lithium-ion batteries of any size is governed by strict regulations in the US that carriers must follow to safeguard the vehicle. Carriers must secure electric vehicles and hybrids firmly to prevent any excessive battery motion and short circuits in transit. 

If you want to transport your EV, you should look for a carrier that’s got the necessary experience shipping electric vehicles and has the tools to take care of the vehicles they’re handling, and appreciate the fragility of the components. 

As long as a carrier takes the necessary precautions, this type of vehicle is no riskier to ship than a gasoline or diesel car. 

What are the benefits of shipping your EV?

If you’re wondering whether you should ship your electric car, let’s share some of the reasons why it’s such a good idea.

  • Saves time: If you’re thinking about driving yourself, remember it could take days, possibly even a week or more, depending on the distance. Do you have that much spare time in your schedule? Ship your electric car with an auto transport company, and you can schedule the shipment at a time that suits you. Then all you need to do is ensure you’re available to accept delivery of your EV. 
  • Less stressful and less planning: An auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport takes care of all the arrangements. You don’t have to worry about where you’re going to charge your vehicle or prepare it for a long journey. 
  • Your vehicle is protected: If you drive your car several thousand miles, your EV will undergo a considerable amount of wear and tear, particularly the battery. This will ultimately impact the resale value of your car, lead to costly repairs, and maybe even increase the cost of your insurance. 
  • Convenient and safe
  • Saves money: When you ship your vehicle, you won’t be paying for travel expenses, additional maintenance, or repair bills. You won’t use up your valuable vacation time, take time off work, or lose wages. 
  • Door-to-door service: Many auto transport companies offer a door-to-door service. When the carrier comes to pick up your hybrid vehicle, they’ll come as close as possible to your home. They’ll also drop if off as close to your chosen destination as they can. 
  • Multi-vehicle shipping: If you’re lucky enough to own more than one vehicle, or even if you’ve got one EV and a normal vehicle, you’ll save some money if you include more than one vehicle in the shipment. 
  • Reliable and professional service: The carriers we use are subject to various background checks. This means you can be certain your vehicle is being shipped safely and securely, the carrier uses the right equipment, and knows how to treat your EV with the care and attention it requires. In addition, you know your vehicle will arrive on time, and there will be no complications.  
  • Competitive rates and attractive discounts: Many auto transport companies offer various discounts and competitive rates. Here at SGT Auto Transport, for example, we offer discounts for retired and service members of the military and upon request for returning snowbirds. 

EV car shipping preparations

If you’re the owner of an electric or hybrid vehicle, it will have been a significant investment. Taking the utmost care of your investment during transportation will add to its long-term value. Here is a list of what you need to do to ensure a smooth car shipping service.

Expect to pay a little extra

When you ship an electric or hybrid car, you have to remember that the vehicle is heavier and requires special care. Weight is a primary factor in auto transport costs, so the auto transport service might cost a little more because of the onboard battery weight and added bulk of the charger, inverter, and to a lesser degree, the motor. 

Charge the battery

A charged battery isn’t going to make any difference to the vehicle's weight. But it will be helpful as there is usually some kind of driving involved when the vehicle is loaded and unloaded at its final destination. It’s vital there is enough juice in the battery for this part of its auto transport journey. 

Get your car checked by a qualified electric car mechanic

Get a pro to give your vehicle the once over before you get it shipped. You might need to do some research to ensure you find the best electric vehicle mechanic, but it’ll be worth the effort. 

Prepare your car for the journey

There are several things you can do to prepare your vehicle for shipping:

  • Wash and clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Washing the outside allows you to see any dents, scratches, or dings that might appear during the shipping process. Cleaning the interior should include removing loose items that might shift during transport. Loose items could fly around during shipping and damage windows or interior components.
  • Remove all personal items. Any items you put in the trunk or interior aren't covered by the carrier's cargo insurance. Loose items might also damage the car’s interior components. 
  • Disable the alarm.
  • Keep the gas below a quarter of a tank. This doesn’t apply to an electric vehicle, but it does apply to a hybrid. 
  • Check tire pressures and fluid levels.  

Be ready to check your vehicle when it arrives

When your vehicle is delivered at the other end, make sure you’ve got the time to study the vehicle closely. You need to check for damage and if you spot anything, make a note of it on the Bill of Lading. 

Choose a reliable auto transport management company as your partner

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

You don’t want to be lying awake for several nights worrying about damage, overcharging, and whether your EV will be delivered on time. Instead, you need a professional company you can trust. 

There are some things you need to look for if you want a company you can trust:

  • Experience: A good indicator of a reliable auto transport company is the number of years they’ve been in business. Ideally, you want a company that’s been transporting electric and hybrid vehicles for several years. 
  • Professional staff: An electric car is a valuable possession. You want to check on its progress regularly, and good customer service is essential. That includes 24/7 availability, prompt communication, timely updates, and putting the customer first are things to look for.  
  • Affordable rates: While the cost is important, it shouldn’t be the only thing you base your decision on. What you want is a good quality auto transport service at an affordable price, rather than focusing on the cheapest option.  
  • Trustworthiness: You can gauge how trustworthy a company is by reading reviews, ratings, and customer stories. 
  • Company registration: Car shipping companies have to register with the US Department of Transportation. So when you book a car shipping service, make sure you check the status of the company’s registration by visiting the Department of Transportation website. 
  • Transparency: Before you make a booking, find out as much as you can about the company you want to use. Look for things like full insurance coverage, $0 upfront payments, and no hidden fees.     

Make a list of potential auto transport companies that fit these criteria and focus on what a company can do for you when working out how to ship your electric car. There are many companies to choose from, and they vary with regards to the transport options and quality of service.

Once you’ve got a few names on your list, contact them all and get an instant quote. Spend some time talking to the company representatives and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you have all the facts, you can make a more informed decision.      

How much does it cost to ship electric vehicles across the country?

You’re probably wondering, “Is it worth it to ship a car?” Let’s see if we can answer that question.

An excellent place to start is the average cost per mile to ship an electric car to another state. For distances under 500 miles, it’s around $1. However, if the distance is 1,000 miles or more, the rate drops to just $0.60 per mile. However, remember this is just an average figure. How much you actually pay depends on several factors, for example:

  • Distance: Shorter distances cost less. The rate per mile is lower for longer distances, but the overall cost is higher. 
  • Pick-up and delivery locations: There are more carriers operating 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 because the carrier has to transport fewer cars to keep within weight restrictions. 
  • Type of auto transport service: There are many auto transport services to choose from. The most popular is open car transport. Enclosed auto transport, on the other hand, costs more, but it offers added protection and security. We’ll look at the different options a little later. 
  • Condition of the vehicle: One question you have to answer when you request a quote is whether your car is operable or inoperable. Transporting 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: Shipping an electric vehicle during the summer months costs less than in the winter. Ice, snow, and other wintry weather conditions increase the price. 

Getting a quote

If you want to know exactly how much it will cost to ship a hybrid or electric car, you can use our instant quote calculator. There’s also the option of speaking with a member of our shipping team directly. Call on (864) 546-5038, or use Live Chat.

Different auto 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 takes the lion’s share in the auto transport business. It’s also one of the most affordable ways to ship a car from city to city, across state lines, or from one side of the country to the other. 

Carriers can move up to ten vehicles at the same time. However, the vehicles are exposed to the elements, road and traffic grime. Nevertheless, it is a very safe and secure way to transport an electric vehicle. 

Enclosed auto transport

Choose enclosed auto transport, and your EV will be completely protected from weather conditions, dirt, debris, and other elements. There is, however, an extra cost to consider. Enclosed or covered auto transport costs are between 30% and 40% more than open transport. It is generally recommended if you want to ship a vehicle that’s classic, vintage, high-end, custom, or luxury.

Alongside these options, there are a couple more you might want to take advantage of.

Express car shipping

There are times when you might need to transport an EV or PHEV car at the last minute. You might also need it to be at a specific location by a particular date. You can use express car shipping for both these situations. The carrier will pick your vehicle up within 1-2 days.

Guaranteed pick-up

With a guaranteed pick-up service, you make your booking within a 24-hour window. This is useful if you’re pushed for time or need to make specific arrangements.  

If you’re ready to make the arrangements for shipping your electric or EV vehicle, get in touch right away and we’ll get the ball rolling. You can get an instant quote here on our website and make your booking. Alternatively, you can call  (864) 546-5038 to finalize the arrangements.  


Are there any regulations for shipping an electric vehicle in the US?

Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which have strict shipping regulations in the US. Before transport, the battery must be secured to prevent movement and short circuits. Aside from the battery, the shipping regulations on electric vehicles are the same as regular cars. The increased battery regulations should not inconvenience you as a customer at all. 

Is it safe to ship my electric car?

Yes, it’s completely safe to ship your electric car. Your electric vehicle will be turned off during the entire shipping process, which means it’s no more dangerous than shipping a regular car. 

Do I need to drain my electric car’s battery before shipping?

As long as the battery is secured against short circuits and prevented from moving, there’s no need to drain your car’s battery before shipping it. The battery may drain during the shipping process due to energy loss. If you want your car’s battery to still have life in it when it gets to its destination, it’s best to charge your car battery fully before shipping. 


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