Q. I want to cycle tour overseas with my eBike but the airline says I can't take my bike on my flight like a regular bicycle due to the Lithium Ion batteries. Can I ship my battery separately and collect it when I arrive?
A. It is possible to ship eBikes to most parts of the world, but the process is a bit more complicated and expensive than most people expect.
Size & capacity regulations
Airlines and Airports have strict limitations on the size and capacity of batteries that are allowed within their facilities including the way these are packaged, and more regulations for what may be accepted into the cargo areas of passenger planes. eBike batteries are generally too powerful to meet these limits. Anyone riding a common commercial brand of eBike will likely find that they'll need to either arrange to rent a battery once they arrive, or ship their whole eBike ahead of their travel dates if the battery is of a type that is allowed to be shipped.
Stand-alone vs in-gear battery shipping regulations
Shipping a battery alone is usually far more restrictive, and if it can be shipped, then it will be more expensive than shipping it as part of your eBike. The transportation of stand-alone batteries is regulated differently from the shipping of batteries housed within the structure of other gear. The change in classification from stand-alone battery to contained battery can sometimes reduce the total cost of shipping by up to half! Even with this reduction, it's still common for the related fees of shipping an eBike overseas from New Zealand to total well over $1000, so it's not a cheap undertaking. Sometimes it may be worth sourcing a bike upon arrival instead of shipping your eBike to the start of your trip, and then home again when your trip is over.
Air freight vs sea freight & timing your arrival
Shipping the eBike along with the battery can in some instances allow the package to ship via airfreight, which is a much faster and more reliable method of shipment in regards to timing than sea freight. Managing the timing is important so that you don't have the issue of your bike not being at your destination upon your arrival, or it arriving earlier than expected and attracting additional storage fees while waiting for your arrival.
Select your Airports carefully
Even if the airlines accept the transport of your eBike, only certain airports around the world allow large Lithium Ion batteries within their premises. For example, only Auckland airport allows them in New Zealand. So it may be best to plan your trip to start and finish in countries and cities where your eBike is able to arrive and exit through the local airport without further ground transport. Please contact us with the details of your trip's desired starting and ending locations so we can help match available airlines, countries and airports to your trip as closely as possible.
Packaging items with Lithium Ion Batteries
Packaging is also important when shipping items with Lithium Ion batteries, as there are regulations as to how they are packaged and what labels are to be prominently displayed on the outside of the package to alert handlers to the content of the package. We have facilities in New Zealand to give you the right information on proper packaging & labelling.
If you are interested in shipping your eBike overseas, please contact us with the details of your eBike, eBike battery, and your route/destinations so we can handle and work out the shipment details for you.