The main components of electric vehicles are much the same as conventional cars — except for the batteries. Gas-powered vehicles use lead-acid batteries that are recyclable, but disposing of lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries is a bit more complicated.
EV batteries are bigger and heavier than regular batteries. They are dangerous because lithium-ion cells can explode during disassembly. This potential for disaster may be one reason only five percent of EV batteries are recycled.
How to Dispose of EV Batteries
EV sales may reach more than 45 million by 2030. Some carmakers plan to phase out combustion engines in a few decades. Yet, the US has no established mandates for recycling EV batteries.
How do you get rid of an EV battery without endangering yourself or the environment? Electric vehicle manufacturers want to ensure their old batteries aren't causing safety hazards.
One solution could involve having automakers track the batteries, but this process could prove difficult. Many EVs may pass to two or three different owners before the battery needs replacing. Other options are available for safe and convenient EV battery disposal. Many recycling centers specialize in lithium-ion battery disposal.
Solutions for EV Battery Recycling
More Americans are choosing electric vehicles. They want to do their part in protecting the environment. As sales increase, current recycling solutions for dead batteries won't be enough. Forward-thinking scientists and auto manufacturers are developing advanced techniques to address the issue. For example:
Ford works with a recycling company to reuse raw materials from dead EV batteries. They plan to expand the development and production of EVs. This expansion will increase the demand for raw materials. For Ford, reclaiming materials from recycled batteries is a great idea.
Tesla executives are working with Redwood Materials to become the worlds' top recycler. Redwood's technology recovers an average of 95 percent of the lithium and graphite stored in EV batteries.
Nissan uses discarded EV batteries to power streetlights and for other electrical purposes. Their engineers estimate a life span of 10 to 15 years for a repurposed battery.
Hyundai breathes new life into discarded batteries in clever ways. They launched a pilot project to use dead batteries for storing solar power.
The US Department of Energy is also doing its part. They invested $15 million to fund research for sustainable recycling solutions. The Department of Transportation works to increase public awareness about hazardous materials disposal. You can visit their DOT's Check the Box campaign to learn more.
Where Will Your Dead EV Battery Go?
Do you plan to buy or already own an electric vehicle? If so, learn about the safest way to dispose of your dead EV battery. Electric cars are becoming more popular, creating a huge number of used batteries. Everyone must do their part to ensure the safe disposal of EV batteries for our families and the environment.