What Are Tesla Batteries
Contrary to popular belief, a Tesla doesn’t have one giant battery. Instead, it has thousands of much smaller batteries that are all connected together. These cells, which are labeled by size with numbers like 18650 and 18350, are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Surprisingly, these individual battery cells are popular in the consumer market. They’re used in many other consumer applications, such as cameras, flashlights, and powerful lasers.
Individual lithium-ion cells, though widely available at a low price, cannot be swapped in and out by the consumer. Tesla battery packs are complex and utilize integrated cooling systems and wires that can’t be disturbed. As a result, if a few cells go bad, the whole pack may need to be replaced.
There’s no cost-effective way to fix a failing Tesla battery pack if it degrades due to age or overuse. And every Tesla battery pack will degrade a little bit every time it’s charged and discharged, and more of these cycles are accelerated.
So, what happens to these massive battery packs when they pass their prime? And is there a proper and improper way to dispose of them?
Teslas Plans For The Future
Cost definitely is a huge factor that contributes to the lack of recycled EV batteries. Teslas recycling partner, Toxco, charges $4.50 per pound of batteries. However, with the demand for EVs rising and increasing pressure on other automakers, recycling fees are down by 24 percent.
Tesla hopes that this downward trend will continue in the future, pushing it toward its goal of closed-loop recycling. Tesla also wants to set up an incentive program for customers who return their old battery modules.
Plans have been made for a Tesla battery-swapping station, which will hopefully encourage drivers to be more environmentally conscious. The automaker also plans to develop an EV battery that can be recycled many times, potentially lasting up to one million miles.
Are Tesla Battery Swap Stations Coming Soon
It doesnt look like it. Tesla piloted a scheme back in 2014, but quickly shut off the programme after 2 years. They felt that their supercharger network was more successful and was more in demand at that point, its hard to know if they will bring this back.
Heres a statement from Tesla in 2021:
The company believes electric vehicle charging is the best way to power its vehicles, and that battery swapping is riddled with problems and not suitable for wide scale use.
Time will tell who’s right on this one. Will Nio’s battery swap stations be the final form of Electric Car Charging? Or will it be Tesla’s Supercharger network?
Now, youve got a taste of whats to come. Well move on to electric car battery recycling and disposal.
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How Does Ev Battery Recycling Work And How Can You Do It
Essentially, the parts of the battery that are still functioning to some degree will be used again on smaller mobility objects, like forklifts and other machinery but if theres nothing left of the existing battery they will be ground into a fine powder where they will be extracted of rare earth minerals like lithium and cobalt.
Its still cheaper to mine these materials but investment in recycling could ease some pressure on harmful mining production that is CO2 extensive and uses workers in poor working conditions.
If you want to recycle your EV battery you can search for your local recycling plant, just search EV battery recycling near me, and you should find one nearby.
Does Tesla Recycle Batteries
Very few electronics manufacturers bother recycling old batteries. The justification was that itâs simply too expensive, or they just don’t care. Tesla is different, as it recognizes the risk that increased lithium-ion battery use poses to the environment and chooses to do something about it.
Tesla recycles 100% of the electric car batteries it receives from customers. Tesla plans to expand these operations dramatically. It recently stated that its battery manufacturing facilities in the United States will accept used Tesla batteries on-site for processing.
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Ascend Elements: Turn Old Cathodes Into New Cathodes
Michael OKronley knew he could get more out of old batteries than the mixed metal slag that emerges from pyrometallurgy. And he wanted to get more than the commodity metals that conventional hydrometallurgy recovers from shredded battery parts.
We want to make the highest-value material possible from spent lithium-ion batteries, said OKronley, who runs Ascend Elements, a closed-loop recycling firm founded in 2015.
The most expensive part of a new battery is the cathode. Today cathodes are made by mining and processing lithium and metals such as nickel, manganese and cobalt. But an old battery contains all the necessary ingredients. Its just a question of getting them out and back into a fresh, usable form.
Ascend scientists riffed on traditional hydrometallurgy and created a process they call hydro to cathode. They shred batteries and put them in solution. Instead of pulling out individual metals, they extract impurities from the liquid and leave behind only cathode ingredients in their pure atomic state. Then the scientists can adjust the ratio of metals in the cathode material based on what the customer is looking for. They precipitate out nickel manganese cobalt hydroxide, a cathode precursor. Adding lithium to that yields new cathode active material.
There are plenty of vetted technological improvements in battery recycling, OKronley said. The problem is that very little recycling capacity has been built.
The Closed Loop Recycling System
The concentration of metals used in the cathodes of the battery packs often exceed metal concentrations found in natural ores. This means that battery packs are a rich resource and effectively present the market with a highly enriched ore to be extracted.
According to Anwar Sattar, lead engineer at Warwick Manufacturing Group , when it comes to EV battery packs, âover 90% of the cell can be recoveredâ. The batteries are crushed and separated into like parts where the plastics go on to be reprocessed, and the lead is sent back to battery manufacturers for reuse.
The end result is that every new battery contains between 60-80% of recycled materials.
This creates something thatâs known as a âclosed-loopâ system. Not only does it lower the cost of batteries because materials are recycled rather than having to be created, but it also encourages the value of seeing future use in seemingly âdeadâ batteries.
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Why Does It Cost So Much To Recycle A Tesla Battery
There is a lot of room for improvement as far as electric car battery recycling goes. The first big thing that can be improved is the recycling infrastructure. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is far more complicated than recycling most other metals. The processes are more difficult and even the transportation regulations can be very difficult. As such, there are not a lot of facilities across the country or even around the world that recycle electric car batteries.
Over time, we will likely see this infrastructure increase drastically. As the processes become simpler to implement, it will allow recycling companies to profit more from recycling electric car batteries. As such, more competition will start to emerge.
As the infrastructure is currently limited, electric car batteries often have to travel large distances to a recycling facility. This can be extremely costly. Transporting lithium-ion batteries requires special containers to hold the extremely heavy batteries. As such, it is often more cost-effective to just ship an entire car across the country than it is to ship just the battery. As more and more recycling facilities are available locally, the need for long trips to transport the batteries will disappear. This will significantly help reduce the cost of recycling the batteries.
Are Ev Batteries Recyclable
As electric vehicle sales continue to increase, questions about how these cars and their batteries will be disposed of have been top of mind for current owners, future buyers, policymakers, and many experts in the automotive industry.
EVs are a newer technology, and their batteries require different end-of-life processing than gasoline vehicles. Luckily, lithium-ion battery recycling research and development has been going on for years and there is an existing and growing repurposing and recycling system in North America for these components. The map below is from recent research that explores the network of companies already recycling and repurposing batteries these include recycling companies such as Redwood Materials, Li-Cycle, and Ascend Elements. The industry is quickly growing capacity for future recycling, with planned facilities in Nevada, New York, and Georgia, to name just a few.
Current lithium-ion battery collection, repurposing, and recycling network in North America. Slattery et al. .
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Does Tesla Take All Old Batteries
At this time, Tesla accepts all defective and worn-out batteries from its vehicles. However, you probably can’t just drive up to the factory and dump a couple of tons of miscellaneous batteries for recycling.
Tesla’s recycling obligation only extends to the batteries that it produces. The company currently lacks the capacity to recycle all of the world’s lithium-ion batteries. But given the exquisite engineering capabilities and ambitions of the company, only time will tell if they’ll eventually make recycling cost-effective enough to accept all used electronics batteries.
Thankfully, any places where you can take other lithium-ion batteries for recycling. Towns and cities typically have dedicated electronics and battery drop-off stations, and many electronics stores accept them for free.
How Can Battery Recycling Improve Sustainability
Recycling not only means that less batteries will end up in land-fill, but it also means that far fewer natural materials will have to be mined to sustain the EV boom.
Battery recycling is the first step in the shift from a linear EV economy where batteries would be used and then discarded of, to a circular EV economy that aims to re-use and re-purpose battery metals.
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How Long Do Ev Batteries Usually Last
We all know from the frustration with our phones that batteries can deplete very quickly, but electric car batteries are about 100 times bigger, and more powerful so they do last longer. You can expect your battery to last up to 10 years! The warranties on EVs are actually longer than on petrol cars, with some being 7 years with unlimited mileage.
What Are The Keys To Ev Success Tesla Is Focused On Battery Recycling
A battery pack stands on a trolley as Tesla Model X sports utility vehicles sit in cradles … during assembly for the European market at the Tesla Motors Inc. factory in Tilburg, Netherlands, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. A boom in electric vehicles made by the likes of Tesla could erode as much as 10 percent of global gasoline demand by 2035, according to the oil industry consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
TSLA a wants to sell 20 million electric vehicles per year by 2030. And it says for every car sold, CO2 levels will be dramatically reduced. So how does battery manufacturing impact that goal and what are Teslas plans to recycle?
The overriding question is whether electric vehicles are cleaner than those that run on the internal combustion engine from cradle to grave. Undeniably, Tesla asserts that a car with no tailpipe emissions is a cleaner pursuit and even more so because of the companys battery recycling program. Consider that older cars on the road are less fuel-efficient than the newer ones while the electric grid is getting greener all the time just in time for the EV revolution.
Just as important, Tesla says that it can recover 92% of a batterys materials tons of nickel, copper, and cobalt. Fossil fuels are extracted and used once, it notes, adding that the materials in a lithium-ion battery are recyclable. Once the raw materials are in the lithium-ion cells, they will remain there until the end of the cars life.
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Abtc: Take Batteries Apart The Way They Are Put Together
Instead of shredding or burning batteries, why not run the manufacturing process in reverse?
Thats the elegant insight that informs how the American Battery Technology Company approaches battery recycling. The team there knows how to put batteries together because they helped Tesla set up its Nevada Gigafactory. One of Ryan Melserts jobs was to vet prospective recyclers to responsibly dispose of waste from the battery manufacturing process.
After seeing the state of the industry in North America and how there was such a void of competitive and responsible operations, thats what led my team and to leave Tesla and fill that void, said Melsert, now CEO and CTO of ABTC.
Melsert and company decided to enhance battery recycling by programming off-the-shelf manufacturing machines to disassemble instead of assemble. The machines take battery packs and break them back down to cells, and then pick apart the anodes, cathodes and separators.
At that point, the company applies its chemical know-how to extract the materials needed to make new batteries. The mechanized process increases the amount of recovered materials while reducing the costs of processing.
By doing it strategically, weve been able to dramatically lower the amount of chemical agents we needed in the separation process, Melsert said. That reduces a dominant cost of mineral recovery: buying the acids, caustics, solvents and oxidizers that extract useful materials.
Tesla’s Closed Loop Battery Recycling Program
As we work to lessen global dependence on petroleum-based transportation and drive down the cost of electric vehicles, we are committed to instituting a closed loop battery recycling system. A closed loop of material use involves manufacturing of battery cells, assembly into battery packs, then vehicles, and finally, recycling into raw materials for future use.
As more electric vehicles hit the road, the demand for battery recycling will increase. The automotive industry faced the same situation twenty years ago, for recycling lead-acid 12-volt starter batteries used in gasoline-powered vehicles. With supportive regulations and convenient collection, today the recycling process is profitable. Once reclaimed, the lead acid batteries are crushed into coin-sized pieces and separated into component parts. Plastics are sent to re-processors to be made into new products, and purified lead is sent back to battery manufacturers to be reused a closed loop system. Recycling of lead-acid batteries is now one of the most successful recycling stories of any industry. The EPA estimates that over 90 percent of lead-acid batteries are recycled, and a typical battery contains 60-80 percent recycled materials.
Lets focus on Teslas recycling process with Umicore, which is the first time weve been able to use a closed loop recycling system.
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How Tesla Battery Recycling Works
So, how does Tesla battery recycling work? Tesla provides a wealth of information on how its products go from production, use, and disposal to recycling. Thankfully, Tesla is greatly concerned with the fate of its battery packs once they reach the end of their useful life.
Before disposing of the battery packs, it’s worth considering that Tesla uses higher-quality batteries than many other companies. This extends the useful life of the batteries, which greatly reduces the amount of immediate waste involved and their disposal.
Additionally, Tesla recycles 100% of the battery packs that it receives, making it one of the only companies known to do so. They receive the battery packs from their repair locations and ship them to plants with the proper recycling facilities. From there, the material is recirculated, and much of it ends up in batteries once again.
How Are Tesla Batteries Recycled
May 22, 2022
Elon Musk tweeted that the battery modules in a Model 3 are designed to last 300,000 to 500,000 miles. As every driver is different, its better to measure longevity by miles instead of years. One person may only drive 500 miles a month, while others may have longer commutes. Those with long commutes may drive thousands of miles each month, so its inaccurate to measure by years.
That said, the company only offers an eight-year warranty on its batteries, but there are restrictions that can shorten a batterys warranty coverage.
- Model 3 100,000 miles or eight years, whichever comes first.
- Model 3 and Model Y 120,000 or eight years, whichever comes first
- Model S and Model X 150,000 miles or eight years, whichever comes first
What if your Tesla battery pack is no longer holding a charge? Tesla lithium-ion batteries are fully recycled. None of the materials go into a landfill as long as you recycle them properly. This means returning them to a Tesla service center. Here are the steps that go into battery recycling with Tesla.
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Why Tesla Recycles Its Batteries
In an effort to make the business more environmentally friendly, Tesla Motors claims that it can now recycle upwards of 92 percent of the materials used in EV batteries. Lithium-ion battery-powered electric automobiles help reduce the demand for fossil fuels, but they also have their own environmental effects, particularly when it pertains to mining and recycling.
Tesla detailed how the battery pack is made to “outlast the vehicle itself” in its 2020 Impact Report. It now claims that its battery plants are concentrating on “an internal, closed-loop recycling mechanism that will guarantee 100% of Tesla batteries acquired are reused and up to 92% of their basic metals are utilized.”
What To Do Next
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