Do Electric Car Batteries End Up In Landfills?

6 days ago

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Comments (14)
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What happens to old electric car batteries when they wear out? Can electric car batteries be recycled, re-used, and is any of it cost effective. In this video we look at not only road cars but also race cars, and learn about what happens to electric car batteries after they can no longer provide a useful charge. We'll look at the Nissan Leaf, as well as what Formula E plans to do with the batteries from Seasons 1-4.

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Comments (14)
  • You can recycle batteries, that is one reason why pikeys steal them, they will get a lot of money out of scrapping them

    4 days ago
    1 Bump
    • Aye, but your average pavee is only interested in the lead-acid type. He'd blow himself up trying to get lithium, nickel and cobalt out of an EV cell.

      4 days ago
      1 Bump
  • Formula E is awesome. I wish it was a little easier to watch here in the States, though.

    5 days ago
    1 Bump
  • Australia has about 7 - 8 % of the worlds Lithium. We have endless space to set up factories away from populated areas. Half of the state of Qld sits on a seam of coal. So we can build coal fired power stations, and use them to power factories that can be manufacturing Lithium Batteries, or NiCad, or NiMH . Australia also has a big chunk of the worlds Nickel, Copper and Aluminium. Australia has about 110 acres / person, and north of where I live in Central Qld, there is about 1500 acres / person. If you want to run a toxic factory, or recycling factory, do it in the Aussie desert.

    5 days ago
    2 Bumps
    • Aus has a lot of mining experience, too. It makes sense to me to have Australia as the raw materials king of the world although I personally would like to see it done sustainably with...

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      4 days ago
    • Another option is to just drive a 4 cyl or small 6 cyl car. Jeremy says his dream car is a Ford Focus, James seems to like a Dacia Sandero, Richard likes Oliver, and P.J. O'Rourke wants...

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      4 days ago
      1 Bump
  • There are some really interesting home energy storage projects in the works. I think this will become increasingly common as EV uptake increases, and therefore the number of spent batteries increases.

    5 days ago
    1 Bump
  • The big question which remains unanswered is is it ecologically sound to recycle lithium ion cells. The comparison with lead acid, which are relatively inert compared to lithium ion, is apples to oranges. draining the dilute sulfuric acid and recovering the lead is something anyone could do with a bit of care. Recovering the metals from a lithium ion/polymer pack is another matter completely as the innards of a cell are highly reactive and can do all manner of undesirable and unexpected things.

    Now, leaving aside the rare earth problem¹ for a moment, the battery pack is the most expensive part of the car. That we're even having this discussion means they will wear out. Here in the UK, the average age of cars on the road has gone up to 8.1 years in 2018. If one looks at the data, freely available on the gov.uk site ( assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/699037/veh0207.ods ), there's a big clump of vehicles in the 6-13 year old and 13+ age groups (38.5 and 17.5% for 2017 respectively), making up more than half the vehicles on the road. A very generous estimate of 8 years life for these cell packs, combined with the cost of them, is going to dispossess people from their personal mobility if EVs are mandated to replace ICE which, with all the rhetoric and hype flying about, seems increasingly likely. Given the expense, I also predict many EVs will just be abandoned as viable concerns as the battery pack replacement will be worth more than the residual value of the vehicle, giving rise to another waste disposal issue².

    Electric motors are clearly superior. I don't think anyone will deny this. They're more reliable, simpler to maintain, more efficient and can be used in kinetic energy recovery strategies. The means of storing the electricity, though, *has* to be re-thought before EVs reach feature parity with ICE. That means we're going to have to drop notions of using them as a crutch for poor infrastructure planning, backup power supplies , cash cows or conduits for marketing data, surveillance and road pricing and concentrate on the core goal: Moving people.

    ¹ We're running out of neodymium, amongst other things. This isn't used in batteries, it's used for the magnets in the motors and is easy to recycle. The problem is it's used everywhere, from hard disk drives to EVs and there's a pecking order. Mining rare earths is a filthy business and, currently, only a few sites in the world allow it. China has the most capacity and, with Arsenoise cutting off the US' nose to spite its face and May pretending the UK is a big, self-sufficient country, they're becoming more expensive.

    ² There is a compound called beryllium oxide which is a good electrical insulator but also a good conductor of heat which is sometimes used in the packages of power transistors and MOSFETs to connect the die to the heat dissipation area. This stuff is *insanely* toxic, so much so that many warning labels were attached to RF kit warning techs not to touch damaged transistors without adequate PPE where beryllium oxide was used. MOSFETs are used in the control circuitry of EVs.

    5 days ago
    2 Bumps
    • I think I'll just buy a 2nd hand small 4cylinder petrol car.

      4 days ago
      1 Bump
    • Yup. Sounds sensible to me. Mrs Chronos went one better and got a three cylinder.

      4 days ago
      1 Bump

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