Here’s how VW recycles its EV batteries — but it’s got to scale up FAST


What should we do with electric vehicle batteries when they can no longer power a auto?

Nowadays, there is only one answer: recycle.

Even though the transition to battery-electric vehicles is only just beginning, we are well aware of the need to recycle and reuse precious metals and components contained in lithium-ion batteries.

Considering the intensity of the extraction processes, it is a total waste not to recover these materials when an EV battery is no longer usable.

German automaker VW has already built a battery recycling plant in Salzgitter, and in a recent video (above) shows the general process of recycling a battery.

According to the automaker, it can recover up to 95% of the materials in an EV pack. These can then be reused in future battery packs, reducing waste.

According to the Electric Car Report, conventional recycling methods can only recover about 60% of a battery’s material. VW’s new process is therefore a significant step forward.

Currently, the VW plant in Salzgitter can recycle 3,600 batteries per year. It’s a good start, but studies predict that by 2040 there will be more than 7 million tonnes of electric batteries to be recycled. Keep in mind that the average EV battery weighs around 500 kg.

With more than 588,000 electric vehicles registered for use on German roads, there will be a significant demand for battery recycling over the next two decades. More than the VW plant can handle on its own, unless it grows… and quickly.

If the country – and indeed the world – will continue EV power supplies from the discharge, it needs to extend its Rapid recycling of EV batteries over the next decade.

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Published March 11, 2021 – 14:51 UTC


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