What Happens To Electric Car Batteries When They Go Bad


Electric Car Battery Lithium

What Really Happens To Old Electric Car Batteries?

A Lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery used in electric vehicles and a number of portable electronics. They have a higher energy density than typical lead-acid or nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries. This means that battery manufacturers can save space, reducing the overall size of the battery pack.

Lithium is also the lightest of all metals. However, lithium-ion batteries contain no lithium metal, they contain ions. For those wondering what an ion is, an ion is a an atom or molecule with an electric charge caused by the loss or gain of one or more electrons.

Lithium-ion batteries are also safer than many alternatives and battery manufacturers have to ensure that safety measures are in place to protect consumers in the unlikely event of a battery failure. For instance, manufacturers equip electric vehicles with charging safeguards to protect the batteries during repeated rapid charging sessions in a short period of time.

What Happens To Electric Car Batteries When They Die

Today, we have a question from a listener named Alissa. She wants to know what happens to the batteries for electric cars once they die– “Can all of those be recyclable? What’s their life expectancy?

Megan Hall: Welcome to Possibly, where we take on huge problems like the future of our planet and break them down into small questions with unexpected answers. Iâm Megan Hall.

Today, we have a question from a listener named Alissa.

She wants to know what happens to the batteries for electric cars once they die– “Can all of those be recyclable? What’s their life expectancy?

Megan Hall: Thanks for the question, Alissa! We had Kolya Shields and Ashley Junger from our Possibly Team look into this. Welcome, Kolya and Ashley!

Kolya Shields: Hi, Megan!

Ashley Junger: Hello!

Megan Hall: When we talk about electric vehicles, thereâs always a sticking point: the battery. So what does happen to electric vehicle batteries when they die?

Kolya Shields: Well, first, letâs define what we mean by âdie.â

Ashley Junger: When EV batteries are declared dead, they can actually still hold a charge. Car manufacturers recommend that owners should get a new battery when its capacity is below 80%.

Megan Hall: How long does it take for that to happen?

Kolya Shields: Scientists and manufacturers are working to extend this, but right now the lifespan of a battery for an electric vehicle is about 7-14 years, depending on the car, how much you use it, and even where you live.

What To Do If You Get Battery Acid On You

If you get battery acid on yourself, is there anything that you can do? There are some things that you can do to try to minimize the effects. First off, if you get it on your skin, you want to wash it off with water as soon as possible. It is recommended that you let lukewarm water flow across the affected area for 30 minutes to an hour. You will also want to quickly remove any clothing or jewelry that also might have been exposed to the acid. This will help minimize the effects. You will also want to head to the emergency room as soon as you can.

If you were to get it into your eyes, you will also want to get to water as quickly as possible. Like on your skin, you will want to let lukewarm water wash over them for at least 30 minutes. Much like with your skin, you will want to get to the emergency room as soon as you can.

Getting battery acid on your can be very severe. Not only can it blind you but it can severely burn you. If you ever are exposed to it you will want to try to get it off of you as quickly as possible as you make your way to the emergency room. The faster you are able to get care, the less severe the effects will be for you.

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Afterlife Of Ev Batteries

As electric car adoption continues to gain momentum, used batteries pose a serious challenge to the environment. What do we do with all the discarded batteries? As of this writing, there are two solutions: they can be recycled or repurposed.â¯

Recycling must be handled properly, because toxic chemicals inside old batteries can lead to contamination of water and soil. As part of the recycling process, they are smelted to recover the lithium, cobalt, and nickel. However, this can be costly, so the repurposing of used batteries may be more cost-effective. Many EV batteries still have up to 70% of their capacity left, meaning they can be used for many other energy storage needs.â¯

Automakers are exploring ways to profit from used batteries. In Japan, Nissan has repurposed batteries to power streetlights. In Paris, Renault has batteries backing up elevators. In Michigan, GM is using repurposed batteries from Chevy Bolts to back up its data center. VW recently opened its electric car battery recycling plant in Germany that can recycle 3,600 battery systems per year. Repurposed EV batteries can also be useful for storing solar energy or running electric bikes and other tools. Finding new ways to turn these used batteries into productive solutions will benefit businesses, the environment, and consumers.

Electric Vehicles Have Two Battery Systems

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Before we get started, its important to mention that EVs have two main battery systems. First, theres usually a regular 12-volt car battery similar to any other gas vehicle to power accessory devices. This battery delivers power to the dash, computers, lights, door locks, etc., and other essentials.

Then theres the exciting new stuff. EVs have a sizeable high-voltage battery pack that gives power to the electric motors instead of gasoline feeding an engine. These are two entirely different systems.

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Where Can Electric Car Batteries Be Re

As the used electric-vehicle battery market for energy storage is growing, demand might just surpass supply. However, this is a slow and, up to some point, uncertain growth. And the reasons for it are simultaneously simple and complex.

Repurposing batteries in order to re-use them for a different end such as charging stations or stationary energy storage is the logic exit for a battery leaving that leaves behind an electric vehicle. Only it is not as simple as taking a battery from one side to another.

Before sending batteries to be re-used, packs, modules, and cells need to be assessed on issues such as how long they can still hold a charge for and how charged they are at the moment. While the first is especially important to determine if it worth sending a battery to be re-used , assessing how much energy is stored matters for safety concerns in recycling processes. In either case , the road that follows is quite challenging.

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Ev Batteries: Traditional Recycling Processes

As youâd suspect, the recycling value of an EV battery is determined by the real value of individual components. Recyclers wonât see much value in a component that costs more to recycle than to create a new one. The lithium and graphite components are the least valuable in a lithium-ion battery but they also dominate the equation. Cathode metals like cobalt and nickel are highly priced but usually few and far in-between, sometimes not worth the effort.

Recyclers use two techniques to extract cathode metals: pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy.


Pyrometallurgy is the more common method and bears similarities to extraction method originally used in creating the metals, âessentially treating the battery as if it were an ore,â according to Linda Gaines of DOEâs Argonne National Laboratory. The cells are shredded and then burnt, leaving charred rubbles of plastic, metals, and glues, after which several extraction methods can be used to remove the metals.

Some major downsides of this method include the energy-intensive burning as well as safety concerns about burning toxic substances. Recyclers need to be certain of each batteryâs composition and its active components to safeguard against health threats.


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Electric Car Battery Life

Once an EV battery loses its capacity to power a vehicle, it can be used to power a home or building by contributing to a battery storagesystem. A battery energy storage system stores energy from batteries that can be used at a later time.

If you power your home with renewable energy such as wind or solar, you can also pair it with an EV battery. You can store it up to use throughout the night when wind and sunlight are reduced. Or even during the day alongside solar or wind energy. This method of generating energy can help you save on bills and reduce the amount of energy you use from the grid.

The battery on an electric car is a proven technology that will last for many years. In fact, EV manufacturers guarantee it. Nissan warrants that its electric car batteries will last eight years or 100,000 miles, for example and Tesla offers a similar guarantee.

This might seem remarkable when the battery in your mobile phone begins to wear out after only a couple of years, but during that time it might be fully charged and discharged hundreds of times. Each of these so-called charge cycles counts against the life of the battery: after perhaps 500 full cycles, a lithium-ion phone battery begins to lose a significant part of the capacity it had when new.

Electric Car Batteries Environmental Impact

Electric Vehicles’ Battery Problem

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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How Environmentally Friendly Are Electric Cars

As we can already tell, electric cars are extremely clean and green. But to what extent is the question. Electric vehicles may be the first of many creations with a success rate that focuses on curbing oil usage and conserving nature.

Needless to say, electric cars are much more climate-friendly than other traditional four-wheelers, but they still have environmental impacts on us and the earth that cant be unseen. The biggest worries about electric cars depend on how they are manufactured and charged.

Lets take a quick review of some of the signs.

  • Electricity One of the significant electric car batteries environmental impact comes from electricity production. Numerous amount of coal burns to charge these revolutionary vehicles. Heres a simple comparison that can put both parties to the test.An electric car can produce 189grams of carbon dioxide on average per mile, whereas a fuel-induced car could make 385grams. So, its more of a gamble for the users.
  • Raw Materials Raw materials such as rare earth components, lithium, and cobalt utilized in lithium-ion cells can be gravely dangerous for humankind, especially cobalt, which has hazardous slags and tailings that eventually lead to nature and humans.

Will Electric Cars Charge While Driving

Modern hybrid and electric cars have the technology of regenerative braking. That way, every time you press the brake, the car converts kinetic energy into usable power, but some of the power is lost in the form of heat. In cities where the brake is frequently used, some power can be restored, but if driving on a highway, where the brake is rarely pressed, there is no room for this technique.

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Dismantling Electric Vehicle Batteries Is Too Complex For Robots

Electric vehicle batteries are hard for robots to crack. This happens because automation and robotics are based on repetitive tasks and electric batteries bring along challenging requirements such as design diversity.

There are different lithium-ion electric battery designs that dont allow a standardized automation process. Computer vision algorithms to recognize and differentiate different batteries, components and materials are being developed for use. However, for their tasks to be successfully fulfilled manufacturers need to print machine-readable features such as QR codes or labels or other on key battery elements.

Moreover, dismantling batteries means, for instance, unscrewing or dealing with bonding methods and fixtures that require strong work by robots with sensitive battery components. This leads to complicated dynamics and control problems like simultaneous force and motion control. Its a complex job, but one probably achievable in the future.

Ev Batteries: A Look Under The Hood

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First, letâs take a peek under the hood of EV batteries to understand the whole assembly. EV batteries are basically a pack of cells that interact to generate energy. They can be anywhere from a few dozens to thousands of individual cells.

Cell components and their operational modules vary between products, but lithium-ion batteries are generally composed of lithium, a graphite anode, and a cathode sheet of either nickel-cobalt-aluminum or iron-phosphate or nickel-manganese-cobalt composite. Lithium atoms travel in an electrolyte base between a carbon or graphite anode and a cathode sheet, generating electric currents that power the car and all its amenities. Weâre talking thousand times the currents from regular smartphone batteries, to propel 2000 pounds of machinery at high speeds.

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So You Bought An Electric Car What Could Go Wrong

If you drive an electric car, these are the problems you should plan for.

An electric car is different than a diesel or. gasoline powered car. It doesnt have thousands of gizmos and doohickeys spinning around to make the wheels turn so the car moves forward. In general, there are just fewer things to go wrong with electric cars. Recently, a member of the reddit EV forum asked this question: What sort of emergencies do EVs have and what do you do when one happens?

Charging Into The Future

Battery-electric vehicles are coming to a dealer lot near you if they’re not there already, there’s no denying that. The techis still in its infancy in terms of mass adoption, and the way we think about building and maintaining batteries today is probably not how we’ll think about them in 2032. Hardware and software may have problems, batteries may degrade differently than anticipated, and the charging network will take time to catch up. But perhaps the biggest unknown is how fast technology will change. Automakers like Honda and Toyota are already heavily investing in solid-state battery development, which could offer significantly faster charging times versus today’s lithium-ion cells. Will that immediately take over once commercially viable?

According to GM’s Grewe, not quite. Lithium-ion and solid-state batteries will all coexist in the transformation because there is no clear winner yet, he said. I think it’s going to be very healthy competition where you’ll see it coexist in the industry for different reasons. And then it will converge on the lowest cost, best tech in the long run.

No one said breaking up with gasoline would be easy. But getting back together with batteries will present its own host of problems and complications that we’d do well to understand and sort out sooner than later, lest we end up back in the same kind of troubled relationship.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: rob@thedrive.com

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What Happens When Electric Cars Get Cold

Before we answer that question, its only fair that we acknowledge the failings of internal combustion engine cars in the winter. Its much easier to point out the faults of EVs because all of us whove driven gas cars our entire lives accept the cold-weather annoyances of the latter as standard operating procedure. The slog of warming them up in the morning, frozen fluids, black ice slides, dead batteries we accept all of this as normal, even though theyre problems with the inherent design of modern gas-powered automobiles.

Speaking of dead batteries, is that what happens to electric cars in winter? Is it possible you could go back to your Tesla Model Y after leaving it out in the snow to find the battery is shot?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about how EVs are impacted by cold temperatures. After studying the issue last year, Consumer Reports cleared this up, writing, Its important to note that EV batteries lose range not because of how the cold weather affects the physical battery but because of the added power demands that come from operating the car in cold weather. EVs dont have an engine producing heat to warm the car the battery powers other heating systems, and if those are working overtime, the battery will be affected, and in turn so will the range.

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What Happens To Electric Vehicle Batteries When They Die

Hereâs What Happens If You Touch Your Car Battery

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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