The majority of EV batteries provide exceptional service for many years. After serving their purpose in vehicles, many EV batteries have sufficient energy remaining to be used in other applications, including stationary storage or other EV uses. Eventually, all EV batteries will reach a point when they can no longer provide adequate storage capabilities and will need to be recycled.
The automotive and battery industries have a variety of programs in place that repurpose or recycle EV batteries at the end of their initial use. At current volume, these programs are sufficiently effective, but the increased volume that will come with the growth of EV usage is one of the challenges being discussed among these industries, academia and other interested stakeholders. The reuse and recycling of EV batteries comes with a variety of issues related to design, liability and transportation. Given the complexities of these and other issues, there is not a single solution that will adequately address the needs to manage the entire lifecycle of EV batteries when the volume increases in the future.
The RBC and Suppliers Partnership for the Environment are teaming up to assess current capabilities for the reuse and recycling of EV batteries. The data collected from this investigation is intended to fill a gap that exists in identifying the challenges and best practices for managing the end of life of EV batteries. This data will also support development of industry guidelines, including design criteria for new batteries; identify supply chain gaps; and support life-cycle studies evaluating current and future advanced battery technologies. Work on this project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017, with initial results to be announced before the end of the year.