Afterlife of Electric Car Batteries

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? At the moment, there are two solutions: they can be recycled or repurposed.

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.

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 Volts 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.

Next, spend some time learning everything there is to know about charging electric cars by reading our Definitive Guide to Charging Electric Cars.