What will happen to electric car batteries when they run out?

Electric car 1

Following on from our previous blog on batteries, the questions has to be raised that with the increased push to replace petrol and diesel cars with electric ones, what will happen to their half-tonne lithium-ion batteries when they wear out?

Last month the British government declared to outlaw the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and Volvo declared they will only sell electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019. With the number of electric cars in the world now past 2 million, the International Energy Agency estimates there will be 140 million electric cars world wide by 2030. However this  increase in electric cars could leave 11 million tonnes of used lithium-ion batteries in need of recycling between now and 2030.


However in the EU as few as 5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled at a cost to the environment. The batteries carry a risk of giving off toxic gas if damaged and extraction of some of the core ingredients can lead to water pollution. EU regulations require the makers of batteries to finance the costs of collecting, treating and recycling all collected batteries and are already encouraging tie-ups between carmakers and recyclers. Some of the problems faced are that while commercial smelting processes  can easily recover many metals, they can’t directly recover the vital lithium, which ends up in a mixed by-product. This means that while electric vehicle batteries might be taken to recycling facilities, there’s no guarantee the lithium itself will be recovered if it doesn’t pay to do so.


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Read the full story at… https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/10/electric-cars-big-battery-waste-problem-lithium-recycling