Electric Cars: What Happens To Dead Batteries
Electric vehicles are a positive step in the road to reducing carbon emissions as they are powered by renewable energy. Theres no doubt that the number of EVs on the road is rapidly increasing. By 2030 the UK Government has pledged to ban the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles in the interest of creating a greener planet. But what happens to car batteries once they can no longer serve their purpose?
In this blog we explore what happens to electric car batteries after they expire and the concerns on where they will end up.
How Much Does An Electric Car Battery Cost
The aforementioned fears are understandable: the battery pack of an EV is by far the most expensive part of the vehicle and can cost £5,500 on average and even as much as £9,400 per battery in some cases.
Its important to note here that battery prices have fallen dramatically over the past decade. For example, the average price of a kilowatt-hourthe standard measure of a batterys pricedropped from £948 per kWh in 2010 to just £105 today.
That price is expected to fall to stabilise at £74 per kWh by 2031 universally considered the point that EVs will cost as much as petrol cars to manufacture.
The majority of manufacturers give between five to ten years warranty on their batteries or up to 62,000 miles.
Batteries are designed not to die fully, but slowly lose charging capacity over time. This depletion happens gradually with many reporting the loss of a few percentage points over the several years. To put this into perspective, according to Plug In America, a Tesla Model Ss battery only loses five percent of its original capacity over the first 50,000 miles.
However, as with many components of older vehicles, the battery will eventually begin to degrade. To measure this, when looking at the average decline across all vehicles, the loss is arguably minor, at 2.3 percent per year. This means that if you purchase an EV today with a 150 miles range, youll have only lost about 17 miles of accessible range after five years.
What Happens To Electric Vehicle Batteries When They Die
The rapid penetration of electric vehicles has led to questions on its most expensive component the battery. What happens to the batteries after 8-10 years of service when they retire from EVs due to capacity fade?
Volkswagen announced its ambitious target to build a million EVs by 2025 and has already got a plan for their used EV batteries. Earlier this year, Volkswagen unveiled its power bank for the e-car, a mobile rapid charger consisting of up to 360kWh second-life EV batteries that can charge up to four vehicles simultaneously. The second-life battery powered mobile charging stations provide a flexible and cost-efficient approach to the rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure, according to Volkswagen.
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Electric Car Battery Disposal
So what happens when electric car batteries die? Batteries of all forms can prove difficult to dispose of without harming the environment. The same goes for EV batteries. However, EV battery life cycle management works towards solving expensive and toxic disposal of the batteries.
As well as being used to support the use of renewable energy, EV batteries can be refurbished to help power more vehicles in the future. Volkswagen Group has plans to start a recycling project that will see batteries assessed on their quality to determine their future. The batteries with some power left will be given a second life as power packs for mobile vehicle charging. The others that have little to give, will be ground down to a fine powder to extract raw materials such as lithium, nickel, manganese and lithium. The materials can then be rebuilt into more EV batteries.
In The End Are Electric Cars Really Eco
No, electric cars they are not zero emissions vehicles. We have seen that although they do not emit CO2 while being driven, they might do it in 3 other stages: during manufacturing, energy production and at the end of their life cycle. In the first case, the need for mining activities to extract the rare earth metals that are used in batteries is very energy consuming and polluting.
As for the energy production, if the car is being powered with energy from burning fossil fuels, it is still releasing CO2 in the atmosphere, not from the tailpipe but from some distant power plant. When it comes to batteries being recycled, it is still an expensive and ongoing process and most batteries are not being recycled yet.
In spite of this, solutions to make electric cars greener and more eco-friendly and sustainable are being developed. And although there is room for improvement, we have also seen that electric cars, as they are today, are already, in general, more eco-friendly along their lifecycle than the conventional fossil fuel cars, especially if they are powered with clean electricity. Some countries are already realizing this and thats why they are fostering the growth of the electric cars market, mostly by giving fiscal benefits that make the cars economically more competitive. In fact, countries like Norway, Germany or Costa Rica are simultaneously increasing their bet on renewable energies and setting deadlines for the end of conventional cars in their roads.
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Setting Up A Recycling Sector That Can Adapt Alongside Evolving Technologies
Establishing a recycling sector will also require an economic model capable of adapting to the range of battery technologies, without having to use a large number of different recycling processes.
Lastly, it must be noted that these environmental impact and recycling issues are not simple to tackle, as the technologies have not yet reached maturity and their long-term sustainability is not yet guaranteed. LIBs evolve very quickly with lithium-metal battery technologies now being designed, for example and we are even seeing the arrival of competing technologies without lithium, such as sodium-ion.
For all these reasons, the environmental, economic and social impacts of manufacturing and recycling EV batteries and their materials must continue to be studied. It is essential to keep applying grassroots and legislative pressure to obtain transparency around manufacturing processes, so that we can quantify their impacts and identify ways to limit them. Forthcoming European research programmes are also positioned in this area, including the environmental dimension of new battery development.
However, we should not just sit around waiting for some miraculous, clean, high-performing and cheap battery technology, which is more like a pipe dream. It is important that we slow down the growth in EV battery size, and therefore limit the power, mass and autonomy of the vehicles themselves.
This translation was created by the Université Gustave-Eiffel.
Battery Recycling Will Succeed Or Fail Based On The Costs And Whos Willing To Pay
Americas auto industry is on a quest to make lithium-ion battery recycling something thats both efficient and cost-effective.
So far, the US has a poor track record of recycling the lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics. Some estimates show as little as 5 percent of those batteries end up recycled, most ending up in the trash, stored indefinitely, or exported as waste instead.
The US has a poor track record of recycling lithium-ion batteries
Recycling these batteries is still a complex, costly process: the collection and transportation of spent batteries make up nearly half of the cost of recycling which is an obstacle UC Davis professor Alissa Kendall, who sat on Californias advisory council on EV battery recycling, expects to become more challenging around 2025, when tens of thousands of EV batteries will start to reach the end of their lifespan.
That means the true test of whether recycling will be profitable and efficient enough to divert batteries from the trash is still a few years off. Until then, facilities like Li-Cycles are mostly taking manufacturing scrap. This scrap is usually excess or defective material created during battery construction. Transporting the scrap is simpler and more centralized than what it will look like when car batteries start to pour in from all over the country over the next decade.
Were accustomed to our vehicles being worth enough that some automotive recycler will take it off our hands
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What Happens If Your Electric Car Battery Goes Flat
The electric car revolution is upon us, but many buyers still have reservations about making the switch to electric drive. Contemporary electric cars have been on sale in their current form for around a decade since the Nissan Leaf first hit dealerships, and every EV for sale in Ireland is as straightforward to drive as an auto-equipped petrol or diesel car.
However, the distance that you can go in an EV is what worries a lot of people. While this so-called range anxiety is reduced every time a new model with a longer range is launched, some potential buyers still have concerns about being able to charge the battery, especially when out and about. And if you do run out of battery charge, then what happens?
Read the ownerâs handbook of any electric car, and the section about the carâs high-voltage battery will tell you that allowing the battery to go flat has the potential to damage the electric drive system. This is known as a deep discharge, and it can harm electrical components that could limit its charging capacity or its power delivery.
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Electric Car Batteries Environmental Impact
Are electric car batteries bad for the environment? Well, we’re here to tell you that the future of EV batteries looks bright.
EV batteries can be fed back into the energy cycle for factories, and homes once its life powering a car has come to an end. Repurposing EV batteries could create a closed-loop system for recycling. Meaning that the factories that produce the batteries could eventually be powered using the repurposed batteries once their lives powering vehicles comes to an end.
Large car manufacturers have already begun to repurpose EV batteries in other areas. For example, Nissan plans to use retired EV batteries to provide back-up power to the Amsterdam ArenA the world-famous entertainment venue and home to Ajax Football Club.
Toyota also plans to install retired batteries outside convenience stores in Japan in the near future. The batteries will be used to store power generated from solar panels. The energy stored will then be used to support the power of drink fridges, food warmers and fresh food counters inside stores.
With more of these opportunities arising, there will clearly be life beyond an EV. Once a battery has finished powering an electric vehicle, it can be used to power our homes and businesses.
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Under The Hood Of The Electric Vehicle Revolution
But the materials are mined in just a few countries, putting them at high risk of supply-chain chaos. In the past five years, the US Department of Interior has classified many of these as critical minerals, meaning they are both of economic importance and at a high risk of supply disruption. Lithium and cobalt are at the highest risk, since they are so heavily concentrated in a few countries. The majority of cobalt, currently the most expensive part of lithium-ion batteries, is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo. China controls two-thirds of the worlds supply of graphite, and dominates the global lithium refining market.
We dont want to rely on other countries for our energy needs, said Jeff Spangenberger, a materials recycling leader at the Argonne National Laboratory and director of ReCell Center, an industry and government collaboration. Unfortunately, we werent given by whoever made this Earth a lot of the materials that go into our batteries.
The promise of recycling means that the US wont be so reliant on imports from politically unstable regions or rival countries. What recycling would do, Spangenberger said, is cut dependence on foreign markets so manufacturers only have to rely on them once, for the original mined materials.
Can Ev Batteries Have A Second Life
There is a debate around a potential second life for these batteries, which would make it possible to extend their use and thereby reduce their environmental impacts. The first issues for this relate to the reconfiguration needed for batteries and their electric monitoring mechanism. Next, applications must be identified for these batteries with reduced capacity. They could be used for energy storage connected to the electricity network, as many experiments have been run in this area.
However, a major player such as RTE, the operator and manager of Frances electricity transmission network, believes that this application is ill-suited, functionally and economically, and recommends recycling EV batteries at the end of their first life instead.
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Electric Car Battery Technology
EV batteries undergo cycles of ‘discharge’ that occur when driving and ‘charge’ when the car’s plugged in. Repeating this process over time affects the amount of charge the battery can hold. This decreases the range and time needed between each journey to charge. Most manufacturers have a five to eight-year warranty on their battery. However, the current prediction is that an electric car battery will last from 10 20 years before they need to be replaced.
How a battery and the car’s electric motor work together is surprisingly simple the battery connects to one or more electric motors, which drive the wheels. When you press the accelerator the car instantly feeds power to the motor, which gradually consumes the energy stored in the batteries.
Electric motors also work as generators, so when you take your foot off the throttle the car begins to slow down by converting its forward motion back into electricity this happens more strongly if you hit the brakes. This regenerative braking recovers energy that would otherwise be lost, storing it in the battery again and so improving the car’s range.
How Charging Affects Ev Battery Lifespan
Still, at-home charging isnt the quickest way to increase an EVs state of charge . For times when a quick charge is needed, fast chargers are the go-to option.
Nonetheless, these pricey but convenient chargers tend to degrade lithium-ion batteries at a quicker rate than lesser charging options. If youre hoping to get the most service life from your EVs battery pack, then avoid unnecessary fast charging. That said, the battery in your EV is more than capable of handling fast charges in times of need without you having to worry about its effects on the packs internal bits.
Likewise, its best to avoid charging an EVs battery to full capacity or letting it discharge entirely. Many electric cars include settings to adjust the maximum charge level, with many automakers recommending drivers charge the pack to 85- or 90-percent capacity for typical daily use.
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Follow Ev Manufacturer Guidelines
First, it is important to follow your EVs specific guidelines for optimal battery performance, as well as keep your vehicles software up to date. Because each EV manufacturer utilizes different battery chemistries and cooling technologies, each will have its own set of optimal operating and charging instructions.
Electric Car Battery Manufacturers
There are a large number of electric car battery manufacturers. Some are well known such as Tesla and Nissan, while others such as BYD or LG Chem, may not be as well-known around the world, but are nevertheless, significant players in the electric car battery manufacturing space. LG Chem, for instance, supply electric vehicle batteries for the likes of Volvo, Renault, Ford and Chevrolet. Not only that, but they have also signed an agreement with Telsa to supply all Telsa produced in China with batteries.
Another major electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is China’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer more than doubled its sales in December 2020 compared to the same time in 2019 and have been selling more battery-powered vehicles since the beginning of 2019. Not only are these battery manufacturers focusing on electric vehicles, but they are also working on battery storage of electricity for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
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Electric Car Battery Life Explained
Everything you need to know about the things that affect your electric vehicle’s battery life and how keep the battery pack in optimum condition.
Electric cars offer several benefits over tried-and-true gas vehicles, from quiet and emissions-free operation to instant torque on demand. That said, EVs aren’t perfect, and there are challenges to be aware of before you head out and buy your first model.
Electric vehicles use large batteries to store electricity needed to power the motor. When those batteries’ power is depleted, EV owners must stop to recharge before hitting the road again. Over time, all that charging and use can wear down a battery’s ability to maintain capacity and capability. Different batteries wear at different rates, and driving habits have a big impact on longevity as well. Let’s take a closer look at battery degradation and its causes.
What Happens To Batteries When The Car Is Scrapped
Car batteries are simply too useful to waste by throwing them away. Even after a decade of use, the average pack will still have enough capacity to run an average house for several days on a single charge. This means there is a ready demand for old car batteries to be used for energy storage and help balance the electricity grid when using renewable energy sources.
Several pilot schemes are already in place, capturing excess energy from wind and solar before feeding it into the grid in times of high demand.
This second life means the batteries are expected to have another decade of use before eventually being recycled to retrieve the precious metals.
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