Greece imposes new restrictions for electrified vehicles on ferries

Those planning an electrified car holiday for the upcoming summer must plan their trip when visiting Greek islands. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) have imposed new safety guidelines on electric and hybrid vehicles traveling on ferries, which Greece has adopted as restrictions.

For safety reasons, electric and plug-in hybrid cars must have a battery charge of no more than 40% when traveling on Greek ferries. Additionally, these vehicles cannot travel unaccompanied. Vehicles using gas fuel cannot have more than 50% full tanks.

These restrictions make overseas travel more challenging, especially in island-rich countries that take them seriously, like Greece and Norway. However, they haven’t been adopted as a standard, so travelers and their EVs crossing to Scandinavia by ferry from Germany face no such hurdles.

What makes an AFV?

Greece will be particularly cumbersome given the limited charging infrastructure on its islands and at ports, which complicates post-travel recharging. Additionally, damaged alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) or those with compromised fuel systems or batteries are prohibited from being loaded on board.

The owner’s responsibility is to ensure the integrity of the vehicle and its fuel system, though ferry companies can verify compliance as they see fit.

Based on an EMSA study and international experience, these guidelines define AFVs as purely electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles with batteries and vehicles using liquefied and compressed gas fuel. They stipulate that the battery temperature of electric and hybrid cars must be checked, and their charge level must not exceed the restricted charging level.

Safety lessons from Fremantle

The alarming number of incidents involving such vehicles during sea transport, such as battery ignitions or small explosions, has prompted these regulations. Notable incidents, like the fire on the Fremantle Highway ferry, underscore the need for stringent safety measures.

The regulations reflect a broader trend seen in other regions. For instance, in January last year, Norwegian shipping company Havila Kystruten announced that it no longer allows electric, hybrid, or hydrogen cars on its ships.

This decision followed a risk analysis highlighting the difficulty of extinguishing fires in electric vehicles, which pose a risk of explosion and toxic gas release. These factors could necessitate immediate evacuation and, in worst cases, total ship loss. Fires form ICE vehicles can be handled by on board crew, for electrified vehicles external rescue forces, and elapsed time, are involved.

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