The Green Dilemma: What To Do with Out-of-Service Electric Cars
The Growing Number of Out-of-Service Electric Cars
In 2020, over 3 million electric cars were sold globally, up by 43% from the previous year. With projections showing that electric car sales will continue to grow, it’s important to start thinking about what will happen to out-of-service electric cars. The truth is, as newer and better models are released, the number of out-of-service electric cars is also increasing rapidly.
One reason more people are concerned about out-of-service electric cars is the way they differ from regular cars. With traditional cars, the metal scrap is reusable for new vehicles; with electric cars, however, safely recycling the batteries and electronics is a challenge.
According to a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, dead batteries will become an even larger problem in the future, especially as the batteries powering EVs will outlast the cars themselves, leading to approximately 3.4 million tons of retired EV batteries by 2040. Therefore, addressing what we can do with end-of-life electric vehicles will be an increasingly crucial topic.
Reusing and Recycling Out-of-Service Electric Cars
Thankfully, solutions have already been proposed for reusing and recycling out-of-service electric cars. While recycling traditional car parts like engines, steel bodies, and tires is already common practice, recycling electric vehicles requires a different approach. To promote the circular economy, the batteries from retired EVs can be reused or recycled.
One of the proposed methods for reusing batteries is repurposing them as energy storage solutions to harness the intermittent energy delivered by renewable sources like solar and wind power. Data from BloombergNEF shows that a retired EV battery system, designed to store renewable energy, could compete on cost with traditional grid-scale solar or gas peaker plants in some markets already.
Recycling, on the other hand, can extract critical metals like cobalt, nickel, lithium, and other precious metals. Metal reclamation efficiencies in EV battery recycling can exceed 90%.
The Importance of Responsible End-of-Life Disposal
When it comes to end-of-life disposal of electric cars, it’s essential to hold onto the “ reduce, reuse, and recycle” ideology. Like regular automobiles, it’s best to handle end-of-life disposal through responsible services like car removal and recycling centers.
Recycling centers that specialize in EVs are being established. This further highlights the perceptibility of recycling EVs and utilizing their components. Electric vehicle batteries contain chemicals and hazardous materials that can be harmful to the environment when not handled properly. Therefore, choosing the right team that has the right experience in EV recycling and related materials is important.
In conclusion, the future of junk car removal is at a tipping point with the influx of electric vehicles fast approaching end-of-life stages, meaning more and more EVs will need to be responsibly recycled. With global sales of electric cars forecast to climb faster in the years ahead, finding methods to recycle and reuse EV batteries will pave the way to a sustainable future. Thus, it’s imperative that society continues its efforts to create sustainable solutions for these all-electric vehicles.