Afterlife of EV Batteries
As EV 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 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 re-purposing 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. They 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.