back to article Electric car makers ready to jump into battery recycling amid stuttering supply chains

Car makers are electrifying fleets at such a pace that battery makers can't keep up. So Tesla, GM, Ford and others are investing in battery recycling to cut costs and mitigate risks posed by an erratic international supply chain. Batteries are basically high-grade ore and a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way for …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "GM is projecting an all-electric future, and said it plans to ship 30 electric vehicles by 2025"

    Nothing like having an ambitious target is there!

    1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

      Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future

      Yeah, I believe they meant models but with that sad and sorry lot in charge, they really could have meant total vehicles.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

      "GM is projecting an all-electric future"

      As much as I'm all-in on an electric-vehicle future, it's quite likely thare are still going to be use-case exceptions where ICE is required.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

        The most sensible thing to do immediately would be to move to a electric drive with a small battery (~20-50 miles) which would cover the average daily drive if charged from the mains, and then use an onboard generator (not an engine) to back it up in case it's not charged.

        This allows for switching to EV's and encourages building the required charging infrastructure which is grossly inadequate at the moment, and also makes use of the existing petrol/diesel infrastructure while making allowance for the fact that we'd need to near on double the amount of electricity generation from present levels to cover everybody switching to EV's from ICE's.

        1. Rufus McDufus

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          Could call it "habrood". No - "highbrad". No! Help me out here.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          So why are you lugging an engine around all the time - why not just put a little bit more battery in there and have 200 miles of range, and 100kW charging.

          Then you need to charge for less than twenty minutes every two hours on a long journey (and that's never really draining the battery (140 miles / 5 m/kWh = 28kWh /100Kw = 17 minutes). That's enough time to go into the service station, relieve yourself of the drink from the previous stop and return to the vehicle. Sit on a grassy bank for a few minutes relaxing the eyes, eat a sandwich, have a tea from your thermos...

          But you don't stop like this at the end of the journey, so it's every two hours except the last two. A four hour journey gets one stop, a six hour journey gets two stops...

          If you're looking at all but four or five days a year being covered electrically anyway then the additional time for those handful of days is really minor.

          I suspect that the availability of AlAir batteries (or similar high density tech) should basically eliminate this need as well - just buy a battery for the journey and trade it back in at the far end... buy another for the return - or just keep two in the car, one part uses and the other on standby - swap out the part used one at a convenient point. They aren't rechargeable, but they are very recyclable - so they basically have a low discharge but relatively low cycle efficiency (comparable with an ICE, except they can be produced at solar/wind farms, or a power station)

          1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

            I am fascinated by the EV fans that assume when you go to recharge there's no queue. I wonder what sort of petrol station these people are used to topping up at.

            On the positive side, when I go shopping early Thursday mornings (c7:00am) at Tesco, the 12 pumps usually only have a couple of people using them. Based on that experience I'll need to make all long trips early in the morning, and if one takes me into loads a people time just park up and sleep until they've all gone home. Job done.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

              > I am fascinated by the EV fans that assume when you go to recharge there's no queue. I wonder what sort of petrol station these people are used to topping up at.

              I'm fascinated by petrol heads who think that recharging must be an exact analogue of petrol stations.

              Perhaps it might just become possible to reserve a charging time and slot in advance? You know, a bit like reserving a table at a restaurant.

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                And maybe, just maybe, there will be 25 chargers at each service station…

                By the time charging is running at 350kW then you need very little time “on a pump”, so there is some validity to the “like a petrol pump” timing thoughts.

                Would also be good to have a “car unlocks cable when at 90%” option available, so that you could have four spaces around a charger, and plug in and leave it without blocking the charger.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                  Let's assume we switch over 25% of traffic - ambitious, but so is the EV story being sold right now.

                  We don't generate enough green power for that not to amount to merely moving the tailpipe (small example: your 25 chargers at 350kW would need close to 9MW to actually work at that speed). Fixing the power and distribution problem has to preceed changing over transport because otherwise it'll become a bit of a tangle with all those extension leads.

                  The reason everyone is all of a sudden so interested in recycling is because the price of raw materials (also that needed for the engines) has pretty much doubled, I'm guessing we are, fr instance, running out of cobalt mining kids.

                  We also have a little problem of what to do with the old cars because they don't contain much of what we need for the new ones.

                  Further, EVs are highly inflationary - all of this is floating on the assumption that families can actually afford to pay almost double for a small family car which, given the current state of the economy, is IMHO a considerable stretch. And I really do not want to pay so much for a Tesla for which it is hard to get service and has a deplorable build quality.

                  The cracker, however, is tax. As you cannot tell wall power from fast charger power I suspect you'll be facing road pricing. Hurray, yet another way to track ye olde citizen because we're really, really short of cameras already.

                  So no, I'm not sold on EVs.

                  1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                    Boffin

                    Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                    We don't generate enough green power for that not to amount to merely moving the tailpipe

                    Even when your electricity is supplied by a fossil fuel source there are environmental gains, as you don't have all those separate engines emitting exhaust fumes where they are (and also when idling in a queue), instead having a single point where you can do stuff like supplying what would be waste heat to housing estates or nearby industries, feeding CO2 into greenhouses, and the actual generating can be run much closer to the optimum efficiency for the load at that moment than a car engine can.

                  2. rcxb1

                    Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                    <blockquote>your 25 chargers at 350kW would need close to 9MW to actually work at that speed</blockquote>

                    That's not an extremely large amount of electrical power for businesses. A large shopping mall (which would be the best place to have EV chargers) will already have the kind of power supplied to it.

                    http://xray.rutgers.edu/~matilsky/windmills/shopping.html

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                      > http://xray.rutgers.edu/~matilsky/windmills/shopping.html

                      I wonder what date this was written?

                      "an electronics store displaying 50 TVs would require about 15,000W additionally just to power these sets". TV sets for the US market use 300W each, on average? Sheesh!

                      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                        I wonder what date this was written?

                        One page up it says "Revised November 16, 2005"

                  3. John Robson Silver badge

                    Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                    Actually - we do produce enough energy, or at least we can.

                    And every time we add more clean energy generation to the grid everybodies emissions go down.

                    EV prices are nowhere near double that of their ICE counterparts - you're a couple of decades late with that comment.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                      @John Robson

                      "And every time we add more clean energy generation to the grid everybodies emissions go down."

                      Our energy prices go up, our reliance on gas goes up (because something has to produce the energy the unreliable's dont), our reliance on nuclear (French) energy increases and our spare capacity goes down.

                      1. John Robson Silver badge

                        Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                        Even if we burnt the petrol in a power plant we'd still reduce emissions, because we'd need less of it to power the vehicles on the road.

                        And we could use relatively heavy/bulky equipment to capture the nastiest emissions and reduce the damage further. Additionally those emissions would be made somewhere that wasn't densely populated by people breathing it all in.

                        If we had an additional 40kWh storage available, maybe across half of the vehicle fleet, that would be a rather substantial battery to cope with the variation in generation from other sources as well.

                        Our energy prices have been artificially far too low for far too long, we are starting to catch on to the idea that pissing in the drinking water isn't good for us, but are moving the latrine downstream very very slowly.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                          @John Robson

                          "Even if we burnt the petrol in a power plant we'd still reduce emissions, because we'd need less of it to power the vehicles on the road."

                          That doesnt seem to work. Petrol is a fantastic store of energy which we have in the tank and use only at the point where it is needed. Petrol in a power plant to power cars would have transmission losses before reaching the battery which would lose charge (a huge problem with the green revolution is no effective means to store electricity). Thats without considering that the generation of electricity must be available on demand and not at a preset time.

                          "And we could use relatively heavy/bulky equipment to capture the nastiest emissions and reduce the damage further. Additionally those emissions would be made somewhere that wasn't densely populated by people breathing it all in."

                          That is probably true.

                          "If we had an additional 40kWh storage available, maybe across half of the vehicle fleet, that would be a rather substantial battery to cope with the variation in generation from other sources as well."

                          I am not sure how effective that would be but the electricity losses going back and forth while draining someones personal transport of fuel because the grid needs energy would need serious working out. I dont know how that would work (do tell if you have information on this, I just dont know of working solutions).

                          "Our energy prices have been artificially far too low for far too long"

                          How is it artificial? We have and still do generate energy from fuels that we know work and we know how to harness and extract in useful ways. The price has been low due to the cost being low. One lie used to sell monuments to a sky god was how cheap it was and would be, which has failed miserably. But more concerning is we are still building such monuments which then increases our reliance on fossil fuels (to make the stuff) and then we still need fossil fuel generators because the monuments deliver so little.

                          I must admit I really hope some green champion MP states that the winter fuel allowance should be scrapped as an idea because energy prices have been artificially low for too long.

                          1. John Robson Silver badge

                            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                            Petrol is a great energy store, but a small engine is always going to be less efficient than a large one - that's just simple physics and engineering. Additionally the heat can be captured in a secondary system or supplied to local premises, not something that a car can do.

                            The losses on the grid and through the battery are actually pretty small (<2% in the HV network, ~6% in the LV distribution, 5% going through the battery) so only a very small increase in thermal efficiency is needed to offset those.

                            The concept of V2G storage is well established, and it is commercialised in part already - Octopus energy users with batteries can already charge overnight and discharge during the day, making profit from their batteries. Extending that to vehicles isn't too hard.

                            Given that we just added an extra 200 miles of range over what you expected to have to cover all your daily needs we could use all of that and still leave enough for your daily needs - I'd probably cut it down to only using 25-30kwH though.

                            The cost is artificially low because the cost of using the energy is not just the cost of production, but of cleaning up as well. Ignoring that externalised cost is not unique to the energy sector either.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                              "Petrol in a power plant to power cars would have transmission losses before reaching the battery which would lose charge (a huge problem with the green revolution is no effective means to store electricity)."

                              I think you are way off. You need to look at the whole picture, not just ideal efficency numbers and transmission losses. (Which are only around 2% plus 5-7% for distributiin losses iirc.)

                          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                            "Petrol is a fantastic store of energy which we have in the tank and use only at the point where it is needed."

                            An ICE is a very inefficient way to utilize that latent energy. 3/4 or more is thrown away as heat. It would be a very long transmission line that lost that much power. Not that it would be a good use of petrol to burn it up in a electrical generating plant.

                          3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                            "I am not sure how effective that would be but the electricity losses going back and forth while draining someones personal transport of fuel because the grid needs energy would need serious working out."

                            Easy. You set your car to sell back no more than XX% of the power it has down to a certain cut-off point. If you need the car for a longer journey, you revoke that permission. Perhaps you can set your price so you only upload power when they pay you enough. You then set your car to charge when rates are low so the grid is paying you to use your battery pack. You could also bypass the price requirement if you need to charge regardless. Data can be sent down the power lines. This can mean the grid can call on support both when there is lots of demand and when there is abundant supply. It sucks to have to switch off wind turbines due to lack of demand in the middle of the night. If cars can be told that there is a discount, they could start charging to add some load and the power company makes at least some money. I think that solves supply/demand issues much better than some sort of time sensitive ban on charging.

                  4. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                    "small example: your 25 chargers at 350kW would need close to 9MW to actually work at that speed)"

                    Even cars that can charge at 350kW can't do it for very long. Some stations are even adding battery packs to absorb peak demand rather than needing the grid connection to supply max power. To have 25 cars all connected at the same time and all able to draw 350kW would be highly unlikely and the station can limit max power. Most Tesla chargers are set up in pairs. If you connect to charger 7A and somebody connects next to you on 7B, both cars will be limited to half power or less. Chargers for every other EV are often set up the same way.

                2. rcxb1

                  Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                  <blockquote>Would also be good to have a “car unlocks cable when at 90%” option available, so that you could have four spaces around a charger, and plug in and leave it without blocking the charger.</blockquote>

                  EV chargers should have multiple charging cables coming off of them, and enoguh power to run one at a time at the maximum current. The first will fast-charge at full-speed until it hits 80% capacity and naturally slows down, while any other EVs at the charger will get a slow trickle until the first one is done, THEN they get to fast charge, in order. And in case of EVs, most models won't be capable of maximum capacity fast charging, and it will be common for two to be able to go at their own maximum charging rate, simultaneously.

                  They can have green/yellow/red lights up top, so you can quickly see which charger is ready to fast-charge your vehicle, which has plenty of free capacity or is seeing the fast-charge EV tapering off its demand, and which ones have three EVs hooked-up waiting their turn to fast charge and won't get to your for over an hour...

                  With that system, you find a spot, plug-in and walk away. No need to be around to move the plug about right when one finishes charging. No need to let someone else plug-in your EV for you, and no fights about people leaving their cars in the charging spots long after they're finished charging.

                  1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                    Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                    EV chargers should have multiple charging cables coming off of them, and enoguh power to run one at a time at the maximum current.

                    You say that as if you'd have some kind of charging octopus with cars all around it. Bit of a bugger to situate that at service stations and other charging locations in a way that all spots are still easily accessible.

                    Much simpler in my view to arrange the chargers like petrol pumps are now, and link them electronically.

                    1. John Robson Silver badge

                      Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

                      Not really difficult at all - you just have a charger in the meeting point of four spaces - in the same way trees are often found in the middle of four spaces in car parks already.

                      You *also* need to have some similarly located amongst the accessible parking spaces of course.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

            So why are you lugging an engine around all the time - why not just put a little bit more battery in there and have 200 miles of range, and 100kW charging.

            Generator != Engine.

            An engine takes up quarter of the vehicle by the time you've included the gearbox, gears etc. Instead of adding an entire separate drive, add a generator to the existing electric drive. Since a 3kw generator takes up bugger all space (much of which is actually fuel/oil) it'd be fairly trivial to put one in an electric car.

            This gets around the undisputed fact that there are:-

            1) Grossly inadequate numbers of chargers available.

            2) Insufficient electrical capacity in the National Grid to charge the EV's if everybody actually switched meaning you need some kind of transitional plan like this if you want it to happen in our lifetimes.

            Also your 100kW charges ain't going to happen because where has an electric supply that will support that? You'd have to replace the local substations, the cables to the house, and the internal fuseboxes which will no doubt happen at the same time as fibre to the premises (aka; never) due to the absurdly high costs involved for most properties.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

              Also your 100kW charges ain't going to happen because where has an electric supply that will support that? You'd have to replace the local substations, the cables to the house, and the internal fuseboxes

              There's generally no need for fast charging at home; that's what one would want at a motorway charging station, twenty minutes to put two or three hours of motorway driving into the battery. At home you can plug in, and in most cases there'll be ten hours available to charge. Also, you just plug in every time, whether the battery is empty or not, or even still three quarters full.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

              "1) Grossly inadequate numbers of chargers available."

              Anywhere there is an outlet you are allowed to use is charging infrastructure.

            3. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

              "Generator != Engine"

              The generator is a motor attached to an ICE - an engine.

              Well done, you've just designed the vauxhall ampera.

              Also a 3kW generator isn't going to do you much good, you'll want at least 15kW, probably 20kW (70mph at 5m/kWh is 14kW, at 4m/kWh it's 17.5).

              And now you have an engine, a fuel tank, and all the servicing that is associated with those.

              A 10kW generator (the largest "small" unit I could easily find) masses 150kg.

              That's enough for 40+kWh of LiIon (or 160 - 200 miles of additional range)

              And battery prices are ~£100/kWh, so that's a £4k battery pack, rather than a £2-3k underpowered generator.

              It just doesn't add up in favour of a generator.

              Add the opportunity for using vehicles with "oversized" batteries as grid storage - and getting paid for that. Let the grid charge/discharge your vehicle, with a lower limit to ensure you have enough juice to go anywhere you need. Just raise that limit on the day before a long journey.

              Or as a domestic UPS for the house...

              Or .... plenty of things I haven't thought of.

              "Also your 100kW charges ain't going to happen because where has an electric supply that will support that? You'd have to replace the local substations, the cables to the house, and the internal fuseboxes which will no doubt happen at the same time as fibre to the premises (aka; never) due to the absurdly high costs involved for most properties."

              Well at home you don't need more than 7kW (and only ~5kWh/day on average).

              At service stations, you need a decent power supply - but they already have decent power supplies.

              I'd like to see SMR deployment at all 150 motorway services, free heat for the services, locally produced energy for the chargers, export surplus power to the grid, import if you suddenly have a huge number of cars pulling power.

        3. WonkoTheSane
          Headmaster

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          That's called a "REx" - Range Extender.

          The latest version of the traditional London Black Cab (LEVC TX5) is a REx, with a 63 mile electric range.

          The BMW i3 electric car used to be available as a REx version, but they stopped making it due to recurring fault issues with the generator.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

            I saw a picture of a Tesla somewhere with a range extender.

            It was on a (diesel powered) towing truck..

            :)

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

              There are a bunch of videos with people charging an ev by towing...

              It predictably doesn't do the towing car much good in terms of fuel efficiency.

        4. Stork

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          There was a bmw i3 a bit like that

        5. Joe 37

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          Not double.

          From a back of a fag packet estimate based on the cars on my street. Looking at a 1 for 1 replacement (Which we all know will never happen), we need 6x our current generation capacity plus another 2GW for the French interconnect which it appears there is a desire to weaponise. Currently we have something like 80GW generating capacity - call that the equivalent of 80 large nuclear plants.

          We use around 82GW normally...

          So we need something like 480GW generating capacity for a 1:1 replacement with ICE vehicles.

          So where are those 480 large nuclear plants going to be built?

          Wind - yeah right. you cover every square inch of the UK that ever gets any wind and you are still building 478GW of nuclear capacity.

          1. alisonken1
            WTF?

            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

            So we need something like 480GW generating capacity for a 1:1 replacement with ICE vehicles

            By that standard - every house has a 100amp (min) power panel, with most newer ones having 200amp power panels.

            Just looking at my street we're looking at 100x50=5K amps of electricity needed just to power my block.

            Interesting that we don't even come close to the max rating per household at any given time.

            (For those not math inclined, VxI=W 100a x 120v = 12Kw

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

            The *total* energy consumption in the UK is about 1/6 electricity and 5/6 fossil combustion, so you're right to estimate that electricity generation and distribution capacity would need to increase by a factor of 6.

            In principle, some of that could be offset by widespread deployment of heatpumps (in ideal scenarios you can get 4:1 heat out to power in) and/or making better use of waste heat. But those are expensive.

            Cars parked in garages might help smooth out hour-to-hour demand, but month-to-month demand (when the wind doesn't below) is going to be much harder to manage.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

        I'm not convinced.

        There may well be cases that aren't covered by Li-ion batteries, but things like modular AlAir packs make much more sense to me than ICE.

        Will those be the last holdouts of the dino juice era? Almost certainly.

        Are they replaceable? Yes, just not with the tech we are currently using.

        If the battery packs are truly modular then you could also reasonably switch out the proportions of which battery type you used.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: "GM is projecting an all-electric future..."

          If the battery packs are truly modular then you could also reasonably switch out the proportions of which battery type you used.

          There was talk of the Kangoo ZE van getting such a modular battery. If you needed the range you took the auxiliary battery; if you needed the carrying capacity you left it at home (or the shop; it was in a magazine aimed at small businesses and tradespeople). That apparently didn't work out as there was no trace of such an option on any of the ZEs I looked at before buying one.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

    What ?

    Then why the hell have I been putting my spent batteries in the recycling bin at the supermarket for the past decade and a half ?

    Where the hell did they go, into the ground ?

    1. Crypto Monad

      Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

      Are you sure all your spent batteries are lithium-ion rechargeables, not just the usual disposable alkaline ones?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

        Doesn't change the fact that only 5% of the Li-Ion ones are recycled.

        The problem is that it's very expensive to take apart a 1000 different size and shaped custom batteries embedded inside smartphones or power tool battery packs. Each of which contain miniscule amounts of useful material amdi all the plastic packaging.

        Recycling standard already separated 18650 cells might be easier - and automatable - but isn't going to be worthwhile economically unless there is recycling fee.

        Remanufacturing existing Tesla battery packs might be worth it - especialy if the price of raw materials is going up.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          you want the process to include grinding 'em up into bits, then extracting the rare earth metals like you would from ore, or that seems to be what was suggested in the article. then size and shape of old batteries will not matter. Heh. ('she said' joke withheld)

          1. Persona Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            As always size and shape does matter. Inside the Tesla battery packs the cells are nice identical cylinders. The packs are built to make removing those cells, heatsinks and electrics easy. As the cells are all identical cylinders their jackets can be stripped off and the core components separated in an automated machine without grinding them up. This makes the chemical recycling process that follows much more efficient.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              maybe there should be laws / industry standards for a variety of sizes of battery , all uniform and easy to recycle.

              kinda like the old aa, aaa , d-cell whatever system

              Its a bit silly at the moment that all the power tools compaines have different shaped batterires.

              1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

                Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

                "Its a bit silly at the moment that all the power tools compaines have different shaped batterires"

                The battery packs might all be different shapes, with different connectors etc. for commercial reasons, but the actual battery cells inside will all be standard sizes. They might even be all the same sizes. For instance, my Makita battery pack is 18V and made up of 12 1.5v cells. When it stopped holding charge, I bought a load of the same sized cells online from some random battery maker and rebuilt the battery pack with new cells.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              "As always size and shape does matter. Inside the Tesla battery packs the cells are nice identical cylinders."

              If you look at photos of a Model 3 battery pack teardown, all of those nice identical cells seem to be glued in with some sort of silicone goo. Good luck with that.

          2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            The problem with grinding them to bits is making sure they don't then decide to warm themselves up.. And then the surrounding other batteries. And then the whole facility in what the chemists generously call a "thermal runaway" as in run away because everything is on fire....

            The issue then is that you've just toasted and chemically altered alot of the material which make things difficult. Not to mention the toxic fumes they give off whilst immolating themselves...

            Now, if we could crush and grind them in a way that doesn't cause issues (some bath which nullifies the chemistry?) then you'd be onto a winner I think.

        2. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          Tesla had been using recycled battery packs for use in their home solar energy program, so expect costs there to ramp up. It was one of the synergies they exploited.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            Yes, that was the first thing that came to my mind too. Tesla said it would recycle the majority of car batteries into their home storage units. I wonder why that's no longer the primary re-use? Maybe the car batteries are coming back in a worse state than they thought.

            1. brotherelf

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              I guess at some point they will be too run-down even for home-wall use? (And even if that point is n years into the future, if you expect to need n years to get recycling tech to usefully work, you better start now. Also, competitive strangvantage.)

              Me, I'll be over here humming "reduce, reuse, recycle", in that order.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          It's time to start mandating standard sizes. Power tool batteries are a good case in point. I now have a battery operated hedge trimmer and paving cleaner which can share batteries and charger because they're from the same manufacturer. We also have a battery operated vacuum cleaner whose battery packs look similar from a distance except for colour. Closer up they're not alike and not interchangeable. I can't help thinking that the EU's standardisation efforts should extend to these packs as well as to phone chargers. It wouldn't help with my existing stuff but it would be good to think that in future I could swap the batteries around and also have a 3rd party supplier.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            The packs may be manufacturer-specific, but the cells inside are nearly always standard 18650 or some other common industry size; I found a couple of dead packs that would fit my battery-powered tools[0] and opened them up to see if I could fit new cells. Well, opening up was the hardest part, the rest was getting the cells with the solder tabs on the right way.

            Recycling bins here are just 'one compartment takes all'[1], so it's up to the recycler to sort the Li-Ions from the alkalines and the NiCad/NiMH ones.

            [0] yes, standardised on Makita 18V LXT, except for one smaller (and lighter) 12V one, more agreeable to working overhead.

            [1] there's a separate slot for coin cells, and a large compartment for CFL and LED bulbs.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              here's a separate slot for coin cells

              at the tip?

              I find it incredibly difficult to recycle because whiout exception the staff will find a problem with the stuff i want to recycle , or the vehicle im trying to do it in.

              Usually under the banner of "Trade waste! cant dump that"

              and yet domestic Joe can bring his people carrier EVERY week, chock full of last weeks brand new ikea shit , dump it , and head off to ikea to buy new shit .

              I turn up every couple of years with waste oil from 3 or 4 car oil changes and suddenly i'm some kind of commercial waste charge avoiding fly tipping criminal !

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

                They didn't like me throwing out 20 years of accumulated PC cases... the electronics had been nicely stripped to go in that bin and the cases were headed to the metal bin... I think I passed as sufficiently geeky that they believed me.

              2. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

                "There's a separate slot for coin cells"

                at the tip?

                No, at the supermarkets. Square-ish, couple of slots to put the various items in. They're put there by some recycling company set up specifically for this. Shops dealing with electric/electronic gear will also have them, or similar ones from another recycling outfit.

              3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

                "I find it incredibly difficult to recycle because whiout exception the staff will find a problem with the stuff i want to recycle , or the vehicle im trying to do it in."

                It's pretty obvious they're after a bribe, or 'tip' as they refer to it. At least it is at my local dump. Despite having a system for pre-booking (permitted) van trips, they always insist 'that kind of van isn't allowed', whatever you turn up in.

                One time I had two different vans booked in on the same day, the first was a dropside and the second was a regular van. Took the first in, they told me it wasn't allowed, only closed-back vans. No problem, go and get the other van - and then they didn't recognise me from earlier and told me that wasn't allowed, only open-back vehicles.

          2. MrBanana Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            Have a check on Amazon, eBay, and the other usual suspects. You can get adapters that allow you to use a rechargeable battery across a number of different manufacturers - DeWalt, Bosch, Makita etc.

        4. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          The problem is that it's very expensive to take apart a 1000 different size and shaped custom batteries embedded inside smartphones or power tool battery packs.

          The main culprit here would be the phones and other electronic gadgets where the battery has to have a particular shape and size to fit inside. And of course it's rare for any of those batteries to fit more than just a few models, never mind models from another brand. Occasionally you'll find some device, such as a GoPro-like camera or the PiJuice, stuff from a comparatively small manufacturer, that takes a commonly available phone battery, But on the other hand, work has issued me a MiFi thingie, and I have a nearly similar one from my ISP, same manufacturer (Huawei), same size, same functionality, same battery size even. Still the batteries are Not. Fscking. Interchangeable. That's the first thing that such a directive should address.

          For power tools and other gear where size is secondary the manufacturer will nearly always go for a standard 18650 or 16340 cell because those are just by far the cheapest per Wh. Even laptop battery packs, except those for the ultraportable models, are often built around such standard cells.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            phones and other electronic gadgets where the battery has to have a particular shape and size to fit inside

            what? rectangular?

            I dont see why that cant be standardised

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              I dont see why that cant be standardised

              Because the fscking crayon brigade at every phone and tablet builder wants their next creation to be sufficiently different from the previous series to entice buyers once more to get one, and that means making the next one taller, narrower and thinner, which means the battery has to get taller, narrower and thinner too.

              I'm all for recycling those crayon wielders into some nicely composted mulch, then used as agricultural fertiliser.

              1. alisonken1
                Joke

                Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

                Unfortunately, I don't think the crayons would mulch into anything resembling healthy fertilizer.

          2. usbac

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            I don't see why all of these devices can't just use 18650s individually? Kind of like AA batteries. I used to have devices that would use 6 or 8 AA batteries in a kind-of two-level pack.

            I recently bought a couple of 18650 holders that hold 4 batteries for a device I'm building. It looks like a bigger AA quad-holder. Unlike an AA holder, they are not just series-wired, but each battery has two solderable pins coming out the back. The holder is soldered to the back side of a PCB with the BMS electronics on the other side.

            There is no reason why any lithium powered device couldn't be built this same way, other then to be able to gouge the customer for overpriced battery packs. I guess manufacturers couldn't charge you $99 for $8 worth of batteries any more?

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

              I don't see why all of these devices can't just use 18650s individually? Kind of like AA batteries. I used to have devices that would use 6 or 8 AA batteries in a kind-of two-level pack.

              Tried getting an 18650 into a phone? Because those use Li-Ions too, and we're talking about recycling those as well.

              Power tools and stuff like cordless vacuums DO nearly always use 18650s, or 16340s for smaller devices that need less power.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            "And of course it's rare for any of those batteries to fit more than just a few models, never mind models from another brand."

            Oddly enough, I happened to be inside a Lenovo laptop and an HP laptop this last week for repair reasons and the oddly shaped batteries looked remarkably similar. The HP was an 840, not sure now what the Lenovo was. They definitely had different connectors though.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

      Even if the batteries you put in the bin at Lowes aren't getting recycled today, hopefully they end up together with other unrecycled batteries. Either in storage somewhere or in a dedicated area of a landfill. That way they can be recycled in the future.

      Probably they are paying to ship them to China and be warehoused there, and China will reap the benefit when it makes economic sense to recycle random small stuff like phone/laptop/toy/etc. battery packs.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

        China has shut down various recycling efforts already.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          "China has shut down various recycling efforts already.".

          No but they don't want to take our trash anymore.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

      The reason old batteries should go into a seperate bin, so far, is less about recycling than avoiding landfill disposal.

      A lot of the constituents in batteries are bad fot the evironment, cadmium is highly toxic and relatively low levels of it getting into the ground water can cause a huge range of problems.

      Umicore, a Belgian company specialising in metal refining was one of the pioneers in recycling lithium and rare earths, I believe they had plans to go large scale in 2025.

      1. Man inna barrel

        Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

        > cadmium is highly toxic and relatively low levels of it getting into the ground water can cause a huge range of problems.

        NiCd batteries have been banned for many years. It is a very long time since I have seen a cadmium plated steel component.

    4. macjules Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

      Awful isn't it? One wonders if you could make batteries from something that is easily disposed of or recycled, such as Sodium Ion ...

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

        Sodium-Ion batteries are more costly than their Lithium-Ion equivalents with a lower energy density.

        Graphene-Aluminium batteries on the other hand show a lot of promise:

        https://www.electrive.com/2021/08/11/gmg-announces-break-through-in-li-ion-cell-chemistry/

        1. Andre Carneiro

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          As usual, "graphene will fix the problem". The problem, it seems, is that a decade on from first hearing about the sodding thing it is STILL not easily available for large scale manufacturing.

          News seem to have gone quiet, does anyone know if there have been any significant advances on that front?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. idiot taxpayer here again

          Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

          @Def

          Batteries have been showing a "lot of promise" for decades now. Probably longer than fusion power which is forever about to arrive in a decade or so.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            On the other hand, batteries have been improving quite significantly for decades now. Other than highly specialised cases, a few decades ago you chose between Zinc Carbon or Lead Acid and that was pretty much it. The problem primarily seems to be getting the costs of new battery tech production down to a level where they become economic and attractive to the customers. Alkalinea and NiCd only really became affordable to most of use in the 80's, despite being invented many years earlier. Likewise NiMh and the various Lithium technologies which followed it that are now available.

            From Wikipedia "Experimentation with lithium batteries began in 1912 under G.N. Lewis, but commercial lithium batteries did not come to market until the 1970s". And it was a good long while before they became commonly accessible to consumers.

            Things are moving apace nowadays, but it seem most battery technologies to data have taken decades to go from "oh, that looks like it might work better" to getting them on the shelves at a reasonable price. So, when you hear of a new battery tech working in the lab, we really ought to be thinking 10-20 years, not 2-5 years for production ready goods. I mean, FFS, Edison patented the first alkaline cell, NiFe in 1912!

          2. Joe 37

            Re: "Less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are recycled today"

            I'm 61. I think I might still have the Ladybird book promising fusion by the time I was 10. Think I read that when I was 8. Must search the shelves round here to see if I still have it..

            Energy breakthroughs are always ten years away.

            Where is my flying car?

  3. Snowy Silver badge
    Holmes

    Shoudl have from the start

    They should have been recycling the batteries from the start not just start doing it now.

    1. Stork

      Re: Shoudl have from the start

      I would think used Li batteries from cars are only about to get to any sort of volume about now - be sure someone has been thinking of it.

      This time, I think peado-guy Musk hits it, look at it as high concentration ore.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Shoudl have from the start

      Ford taking back used engine oil for recycling yet ?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Shoudl have from the start

        the oil companies already do that (recycle motor oil). And if you get your oil change done at the dealership, Ford just sends the used oil to them.

        You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so. At that time the old ones could be recycled. All you need to do is make it CONVENIENT. A bin outside of a store. Automatically done for you when you get new batteries. A refundable core charge. Things like that. Doing that already with Pb-acid batteries so the supply channels are already there, just modify for Li-whatever.

        No need for "recycling fees" - that's just a SCAM anyway. There are better and more economically incentivized ways of getting recycling to happen (the CARROT, and not the STICK)

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          > You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so

          Yes, yes, of course you're right. Fortunately the magic pixies that do this are so good at it you don't even notice it happening.

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            Surely the OP meant regular car batteries, as in the ones that power the starter motor on an ICE?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Shoudl have from the start

              I hope not! Those batteries seem to last a lot more the a couple of years. The ones used in EVs, I'd expect a minimum of 5 years useful life out of them, preferably much more.

        2. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          "You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so."

          Maybe if you're a cab, or some other case where the car gets extremely high utilization. For regular people, no, nowhere near.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            But combine this with the autonomous cars that are going to have much higher usage (and miraculously manage to convey all the commuters at the same time) then a two year battery life or shorter might be expected. But I'll expect them when I see them.

        3. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          "You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so"

          Erm.... what? That statement fails the 'sounds right' test, and 5 minutes online search totally refutes it. Conservative estimates for properly cared-for batteries seem to be around 100k miles / 160k km. Average mileage per year is 14.3k in US and 7.4k in UK, so even for above-average drivers, that's at least 4-5 years. For most electric car drivers where the main use case is anyway for shorter journeys, it's more like 8-10 years.

          With respect to charge retention, conservative estimates are a loss of 2.3% / year, so the battery will retain over 90% of capacity for at least 5 years.

          Of course, from a recycling perspective it doesn't matter how often it takes... once you have enough electric vehicles on the road, even changing batteries every 5-8 years will produce a steady stream of used batteries and therefore the need to set up infrastructure to collect and send them back to be reprocessed.

          And I'm with you on recycling fees - they just disincentivise recycle and reuse. Recyclers are basically getting raw materials for free already!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            "2.3% / year, so the battery will retain over 90% of capacity for at least 5 years."

            Because you are speaking conservatively, that should be "at least 4 years".

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            With respect to charge retention, conservative estimates are a loss of 2.3% / year, so the battery will retain over 90% of capacity for at least 5 years.

            Ours is a 2012 model, so nine years old, but with comparatively low mileage. Bought at 23kkm, now, three years on, it's at 35kkm. That's mainly due to the short range, about 100km, but 90% of our car trips are 30..40km anyway as were apparently those of the previous owner (a local delivery service). So it's a good fit especially since it's allowed into the environmental exclusion zones in the nearby cities. The short range meant it was fairly cheap, even for a car as little used as this one; newer models have at least double the range and hence are way more popular.

            Battery is still about 75..80%.

          3. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            14k miles per year? Seems low to me (only ~50 miles per day 5 times per week). Don't forget air conditioning for those mega hot freeways, or heating in places where it gets cold as hell. If traffic is stopped, your AC and heater do not. Yeah weather plays hell on batteries (and range)

            Perhaps it's improved a bit since the Prius days but as I recall I knew a couple of people who had them and battery replacement was their biggest gripe. Battery replacement was every 2-3 years as I recall. Those were the earlier versions, so I suppose it's a bit better now. And even if manufacturers warranty them for 100k miles (apparently they do, but at 60%-70% capacity or something like that) it may not cover the fact that capacity has dropped significantly by then. It's a fair bet people will have to get them replaced MUCH more frequently than advertised.

            Electric cars seem to be for people who do not commute any significant distance, do not live in rural areas, and do not need (or want) to drive for long distances EVAR. No road trips for you, you have an electric car. And that battery you're using in freezing weather (Chicago let's say) or hot weather (L.A. or San Diego areas, especially away from the coast, maybe with a mountain between you and your destination) is being stressed in ways that significantly affect its ability to operate. I have to replace a regular car battery every 3 or 4 years for that very reason (weather, age). I would expect something like a Li-Ion or LiPo battery to be about the same.

            1. WolfFan Silver badge

              Re: Shoudl have from the start

              I do over 35k miles/year, or 2.5 times that 14k figure. My record was 52k, one year. My car has over 160k on it, and it’s not five years old.

              I regularly drive 70 miles one-way, and occasionally drive 150 miles one-way. I drive 45 miles one way at least three times a week. Prior to the pandemic I was driving the 70 miles up to three times a week, and the 45 miles five times a week.

              I just replaced the battery in the car. For the second time. And that would be the battery for an ICE vehicle. I doubt that the batteries in an electric would last longer.

              I will consider getting an EV when I see one which has a range of at least 350 miles (150 miles out, 150 miles back, 50 mile safety margin) and which will recharge quickly and easily, nether of which is currently true, and which costs what my ICE car did while being about the size of my ICE car. At present, EVs which cost what my ICE car did are much smaller, and have a range under 100 miles. EVs which match the size cost more; EVs which have the range cost more than that.

              I suspect that I will be driving ICE vehicles for the foreseeable future.

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: Shoudl have from the start

                "I regularly drive 70 miles one-way, and occasionally drive 150 miles one-way. I drive 45 miles one way at least three times a week."

                You must be a long way from home by now.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Shoudl have from the start

              "Electric cars seem to be for people who do not commute any significant distance, do not live in rural areas, and do not need (or want) to drive for long distances EVAR."

              To be fair, that's a very large number of people in most advanced nations. It might even be the majority. Especially in a 2 or more car family where at least one car gets very little mileage for exactly that reason. School runs, shopping trips, commuting within the city. I know plenty of people like that. On the other hand, that is NOT me. My 4.5 year old car has 190K on it and 300+ miles per day isn''t unusual, anything from 3-5 days per week. On occasion, up to 450 miles in a day. If I could afford a high range EV, it might just be doable even now for me, but the job and salary strongly preclude spending that amount of money and anyway, business miles fuel is paid for by the company. I'd not benefit in any way and my employer won't pass on any benefit they get in fuel cost savings so I can't afford to think about "going green".

        4. Henry Hallan
          FAIL

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          "You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so."

          I've had a Renault Zoe for 3 years and have done more than 45,000km (28,000 miles) in that time. I see no noticeable battery wear. (The car came with an 8-year/160,000km warranty on the battery.)

          Not sure where you are getting your FUD from, but it looks like "just a SCAM" to me.

        5. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so.

          O rly?

          That'll be news to a million Tesla owners.

        6. WonkoTheSane
          FAIL

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          "You have to replace electric car batteries every couple o' years or so"

          So THAT'S why manufacturers are covering them by warranty for 8 years or 100,000miles / 160,000km?

          I never would've guessed that!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            There are Toyota hybrids more than 10 years old with original batteries still doing useful work as taxicabs and getting useful economy out of their batteries. And hybrids doing taxi work charge and discharge many times per day.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Shoudl have from the start

              I looked if a cheap Prius made any sense to buy. They are not still working as hybrids at that age and usage-level without having had replacement battery packs. Underused 10yo Priuses may have some level of battery capacity left, but the dashboard reports nothing close to full capacity.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            Some of us drive 100k Miles in 2-3 years. The battery likely will last longer, but the warranty won't. It's same with my ICE car. 7 year warranty expired at 100K miles, which was not much over 2 years in this case :-)

            Those kind of warranties are aimed at Mr Average, of course, and my driving needs are not average.

            FWIW, average mileage here in the UK...

            2002 9,200 miles

            2013 7,900 miles

            2019 7,400 miles

            ...and, estimates for 2020, the year of Covid, it could be as low as 5,920 .

            My annual average is around 40-50K miles per year these days.

        7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Shoudl have from the start

          Lead-acid batteries are very recyclable, as the bulk of the plates is just pure lead. The simple plastic construction also makes it easy, and the electrolyte, whilst being acid, is at least non-volatile and non-flammable.

          Li ion cells are tightly-wound little cylinders of flammable, poisonous nastiness. So, rather more expensive to process. Plus the cell chemistry is consumed in the wear process, requiring re-refining to make into new cell materials.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            "requiring re-refining to make into new cell materials."

            I think that was Musks point about treating them as high grade ore. I'd imagine the processes to be a little more difficult though as it's not just separating an element from rock and other elements, not to mention as someone said earlier, the possibility of combustion in the process of breaking them down. After all, EVs are supposed to replace Internal Combustion, not cause it!

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Shoudl have from the start

            "Li ion cells are tightly-wound little cylinders of flammable, poisonous nastiness."

            Most non-Tesla manufacturers use pouch cells rather than the cylindrical ones. That should make them easier to recycle.

      2. Snowy Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Shoudl have from the start

        Electric car makers are the ones shouting how environmental they are friendly?

    3. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: Shoudl have from the start

      As I recall, used Tesla batteries are re-purposed into Solar <whatever> power wall packs.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Shoudl have from the start

      They should have been designing the battery packs for easy recycling from the start.

      1. Francis Boyle

        They have been

        but because the batteries last longer than the naysayers predicted and because a battery that no longer has the capacity for vehicle use is usually fine for static installations, recycling is only just now becoming commercially feasible.

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Go

          Re: They have been

          Redesign, reuse , repurpose, recycle.

          Redesign so the others uses are easier to do and ease of recycling.

          Reuse which if true they are being reused in static installations then that is great.

          Then once the capacity is to low recycle then recycle the materials and make new ones and the impact while none zero is reduced.

    5. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Shoudl have from the start

      We drive a Renault Kangoo ZE. You can get one and either buy its battery, or lease it. The one we bought (used) has a leased battery. Of course that's a fixed cost per month, but once the battery capacity gets below 70% you'll get a replacement. It's stated in the contract that this can be a refurbished one, but they fully guarantee the capacity and endurance.

      So those packs are serviceable, bad or defective (groups of) cells taken out and replaced with new ones. And as this is done centrally by Renault, or on behalf of, there are a few locations where busted cells collect.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Shoudl have from the start

        leasing a battery actually sounds smarter

  4. cornetman Silver badge

    > .... recycle up to 100 per cent of the material scrap...

    Not a particularly informative statistic.

    1. MrBanana Silver badge

      Agreed, no better a statistic than "possibly greater than 0%".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

    If electric cars sales increase exponentially as planned (and as they have so far), recycled batteries are not going to be a large % of the supply anyway.

    And if renewable energy storage is REALLY going to be implemented with batteries, the battery supply will have to increase by ~100 fold over the next decade ...

    Which is why I think there ought to be more R&D in electricity to hydrogen (and methane) - to balance the risk and avoid supply bottlenecks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

      Or... we should be working on an updated electricity grid model _now_, so that excess renewable energy can be stored in the batteries of parked cars, and released back into the grid when the wind stops.

      Enable this via tariffs that vary in real time depending on the level of renewable energy being generated.

      Battery owners would be able to say how much of their capacity can be used as buffer storage, so if you're about to go on a long trip you can be sure of starting with a full battery.

      1. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

        What you described already exists as Vehicle-to-grid (V2G).

        Wiki : a system in which plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), such as battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV) or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), communicate with the power grid to sell demand response services by either returning electricity to the grid or by throttling their charging rate.[1][2][3] V2G storage capabilities can enable EVs to store and discharge electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, with output that fluctuates depending on weather and time of day.

        It's being trailed in various places (US, UK etc), not sure if anywhere has started a full roll out yet.

        One key difference with V2G compared to something like a power wall, is the battery sizes, even a small EV will typically have at least 4 or more times the storage than a typical power wall set up.

        Watched some interview with some of the people in the UK trialling it. Reporting that sometimes, where there was excess power, they were actually being paid to charge their cars!

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

          " they were actually being paid to charge their cars!" and once again we get to pay rich folks with electric cars. This cost is not, of course added to the cost of "cheaper than fossil fuels" wind power, like it should.

          Plus, if it works as intended, you ain't driving to work on windless days!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

        Firstly, I think your emphasis should be on "AND", not "OR". The point is we cannot predict all the boottlenecks and problems that might come up along any one path, so to minimize risk, we can R&D along multiple paths in parallel. (Also, "green" methane gas can be shipped and doesn't lose it's charge, so batteries and "green gas" are not completely overlapping in their usage.).

        Example of a problem - transportation only consumes about 1/3 of all our energy use. If vehicles are supplying that battery storage, they will be working hard. How much sooner will the batteries wear out? If they only last 2 years instead of 5, will it be worth it? Maybe (or maybe not) it would be more efficient to use dedicated battery stacks for the the grid, where every day X number of batteries are replaced quickly and efficiently.

        Also, I wonder about the efficiency of home or workplace charge points in terms of energy loss (the cord heating up) vs an industrial setup.

        Finally - the original topic is recycling batteries. My point is that if batteries are going to be used for cars and grid storage (even if mixed) , we are going to have to ramp up battery production by ~100x. That means that, if batteries last 5 years, then 5 years on there will only be 1/10 of the number of old batteries retiring compared to the number of new batteries being created. So it won't be until stead state is reached that those number will approach each other.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

          Also, I wonder about the efficiency of home or workplace charge points in terms of energy loss (the cord heating up) vs an industrial setup.

          In my case my home charging point is properly wired, 18m of 5x4mm^2 and fused at 25A, from the main breaker panel to the charge controller and its relay, then 6m of 5x2.5mm^2 to the actual socket. 5x4mm^2 would be a bit of a bugger getting it into the box at the back of the socket, hence the wire sized one size smaller. No thermal effects out of the ordinary at any point.

          But we also charge at my inlaws occasionally. Standard Schuko socket in the laundry room. No problems either, as the granny charger limits itself to 10A from the socket, not more than the average kettle, just longer. 10A would take about 10 hours for a full charge, but as it's just about getting 5 or 6 kWh in so we don't have to sit tight on the way back, a few hours charging is quite enough.

          BP (Before Pandemic) there were two charge points installed at work. A bit sparse if you consider the 300 or so people working there, but few come by car anyway. There's three roomfulls of computers downstairs, so even at 3-phase 32 amps per socket those extra electrons are probably just noise.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

        Argh, not vehicle to grid again....

        That just means having to buy a car with a higher capacity battery than you need, to guarantee the car is ready to go when you want it. It would be better to buy a car with the battery capacity you need, plus a separate stationary storage batttery, so you're not burning energy moving battery capacity you don't need.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

          Most trips don't run the battery pack to empty, and you'd obviously opt-out of V2G before you took a long trip.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Not enough batteries for recycle to be a significant supply source.

        "Battery owners would be able to say how much of their capacity can be used as buffer storage, so if you're about to go on a long trip you can be sure of starting with a full battery."

        The payments for renting your battery capacity will need to take into account the reduced lifetime of what is a very expensive consumable with a finite number of charge/discharge cycles. Also, for those leasing their EV car batteries, does it void the lease? Or for owned batteries, does it void the warranty? With all the electronics and computers in EVs and their constant chatter back to base, they will know exactly your charge/discharge patterns and what, if anything, the vehicle was doing at the time.

  6. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

    (some notes I jotted down from a recent copy of Mining Monthly)

    per Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences of Britain's Natural History Museum, in a speech+post on their website (co-signatories included people from the British Geological Society and several British academics) :

    Looking at ONLY the UK:

    to meet just UK electric car targets by 2050:

    the world would need to produce:

    * just under twice the current total annual world cobalt production

    * nearly the entire world production of neodymium

    * three quarters of the world's lithium production

    * at least half the world's copper production

    * Looking Globally, at proposed 2035 target of all-electric sales, and looking ONLY at cars+smallvans, ignoring trucks etc:

    the projected (by then) 2bn cars worldwide will require:

    * world copper production will have to double

    * cobalt production increase by a factor of 3.5×

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Commodities/mining vs "Renewable" energy

      Related; same source:

      2021 Commodities problems w/Renewables:

      IEA Int'l Energy Agency notes in its recent critical minerals reports that,

      * since 2010, the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased 50% as renewables take over.

      * An onshore wind turbine plant requires 9× times more minerals than a natural gas plant

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Commodities/mining vs "Renewable" energy

        And all that mining is done with very heavy machinery, primarily running on diesel at the moment. Boot-strapping that sort of industry into clean power will take a while. Not to mention the often highly polluting and high energy processing of the ores once mined. I think there's a long, long way to go before anything like a car can be truly be called "zero emissions". Zero at point of use, yes, but not zero lifetime.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

      Interesting that they made no mention of vanadium, batteries based on vanadium technology promise to be more efficient and easier to scale according to the application.

      There is about double the amount of vanadium in the Earth's crust too, much of it in Australia.

      Personally, I don't see EVs as much greener than fossil driven vehicles overall, modern vehicles have more electronics, more plastics and still need tyres, a major source of pollution that is rarely mentioned,along with the tons of asbestos brake and clutch dust that older cars dumped into the environment.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

        > I don't see EVs as much greener than fossil driven vehicles

        Quite the opposite, actually. Every single analysis I've seen by people who make their living from consequences and unforgiving reality, comes in around 3x the environmental impact of fossil fuel cars, just to _build_ them. Excluding the battery. Just the vehicle.

        So the usual industry ruleofthumb is about 20yrs/250k lifespan. Your electric car will have to run for 60yrs/750k, just to "break-even". Realistic? No. Not remotely. Personally, I'd be very surprised if their complicated selves managed to even _equal_ a normal car's lifespan, never mind tripling it.

        Then there's the batteries, which in the real-world of negligible recyclability for the foreseeable future are an omnishambles clusterfuck catastrophe just by themselves. Just wait for the first landfill fire, when a few thousand of them kick off when 1 rots enough to crack. We can't even usefully extinguish one... All that lovely toxic, seriously poisonous noxious smoke, yay, makes a tyre fire look like an electric kettle.

        1. jemmyww

          Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

          That doesn't make any sense. If you exclude the battery, what in them exactly causes 3x the environmental impact of a fossil fuel car? The electronics are different but not substantially in terms of how much is required. So really you're just talking about the drive train, and seeing as most of that is the same materials organised in a different way you're talking about the electric motors. By weight those motors are lighter than an ICE, so you must be talking about the rare earth metals for permanent magnets... forgetting perhaps that not all EV motors even use permanent magnets, and all fossil fuel vehicles use some rare earth materials in the catalytic converter.

          Perhaps you could link these analyses? I would be very interested to read them.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

            Perhaps all the composite and plastic materials used in EV construction, including the insulation on the miles of wiring. I haven't researched it but I would not be surprised if a much smaller proportion of a modern car is recyclable.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              All modern cars are constructed with plastics, composites and electronics. You can't compare a modern EV to a 70's iron lump that did 1 mile to the gallon; you have to compare a modern EV to a modern fossil fuel car.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              "I haven't researched it but I would not be surprised if a much smaller proportion of a modern car is recyclable."

              If anything, I'd expect more of a modern car to be recyclable. Including the plastics. There's a lot of pressure on manufactures to move away from single use anything and has been for some while now. Likewise, new methods of recycling which can handle stuff previously uneconomic for anything other than landfill. Charging more landfill tax has skewed the economics more towards recycling too.

              When you look at the amount of rock which is blasted or dug, moved, pulverised and processed for some quite small volumes of useful elements, it does make one wonder if it might become viable to "mine" some old landfill sites in the not too distant future.

          2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

            Large batteries are heavy, no getting past that - my (loathed) eTron is 2.5tonnes, but that's partly batteries and mostly Audi's usual bullshit. I digress.

            There are two questions to answer: first, what are the environmental benefits from running a car on energy generated in centralized locations (gas, nuclear, wind, solar etc) vs distributed generation from millions of small ICEs burning petrol. And second, do those benefits outweigh any negative impacts from battery manufacture vs building a transmission/engine/carburettor/fuel-tank etc.

            The figures I've seen, which I've posted here before, is that the answer to the first question is "a lot". The second is less well answered, but the estimates I've seen (posted to the Reg before, can't be arsed to dig them up again) is that manufacturing accounts for about 11% of the total energy used by a fossil-fuel car over its lifespan, and that an ICE engine is less than 25% efficient. Based on those two figures alone, battery manufacturing would need to be atrocious to outweigh the benefits from switching to electric.

            So yes, I'd also like to see analysis that says otherwise.

            1. jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              "Large batteries are heavy, no getting past that - my (loathed) eTron is 2.5tonnes, but that's partly batteries and mostly Audi's usual bullshit. I digress."

              Modern cars are heavy. The battery of an electric car might not be adding as much you think, compared to the ICE engine and everything.

              Google says that an Audi e Tron weighs 2445-2620kg. An Audi Q7 (similar size car I think) weighs 2135-2450 kgs, so not much different.

              1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

                See. Told you it was Audi's fault :-)

              2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

                "Google says that an Audi e Tron weighs 2445-2620kg. An Audi Q7 (similar size car I think) weighs 2135-2450 kgs, so not much different."

                300kg is a pretty big difference on a 2 tonne car. Especially considering it doesn't have a whacking great ICE up front.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              "Large batteries are heavy, no getting past that - my (loathed) eTron is 2.5tonnes, but that's partly batteries and mostly Audi's usual bullshit. I digress."

              Sticking to your digression for a moment, I wonder how much extra tyre rubber and brake pad dust polution is being generated by your car compared to the average 1,5T ICE car? Yes, I know about regenerative braking, but having never driven an EV, anyone know how much of the braking is regen and how much conventional? Is it a matter of driving properly with anticipation so only the regen brakes are used or is regen braking good enough that only an emergency stop would use the pads/disks?

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

                Yes, I know about regenerative braking, but having never driven an EV, anyone know how much of the braking is regen and how much conventional?

                Anticipating properly we've found there's _very_ little need to use the brakes on the ZE. You can even bring the car to a full stop just by getting off the accelerator, and while you do have a longer 'braking' distance that way it's not atrociously so, perhaps 25% over moderate braking in a conventional car. You clearly feel a same-ish level of deceleration. More than that you just add a bit of pad braking, way less than what a conventional car would need. Regen braking also signals to the car poised to reshape your rear fender that it's performing actual braking by lighting up the brake lights.

                There's a power meter in the instrument panel, and regen braking jams the pointer solidly against the left stop.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

                  Thanks, that's very interesting and useful. What about when doing, say 70mph down hill. In an ICE car you can just about take your foot of the accelerator and pretty much maintain speed for almost no fuel usage. Can an EV do that too or would that be like stepping on the brakes? I'm thinking here that even going downhill you may need to "drive" down, ie put energy into the motors to stop them becoming brakes. I'm trying to get a feel for eco driving methods here and how you can do that in an EV other than just being gentle and accel/decell. Is there an option for sort of coasting in gear downhill.

      2. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

        "tons of asbestos brake and clutch dust"

        There hasn't been asbestos in brake pads and clutch plates for many decades. Modern friction materials are semi-metallic, organic, or ceramic.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

          "There hasn't been asbestos in brake pads and clutch plates for many decades"

          Decade, singular. Well, 15 years or so. It's shockingly recently that it was banned completely. There are still cars driving around with asbestos pads - I changed the rear brake shoes on my not-really-a-classic 90s car a few weeks ago, they were clearly the originals and hence had asbestos in, as the still-visible warning label stated.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

            That's a good point, although I'd suspect there are very few 10-15 year old cars on the road with original brake pads. Those that are, are likely not driven all that much. The internet states car brake pads can last 25-60k depending on car and driving habits. In an earlier post, I mentioned average UK car miles driven, and 60K could be 10 or more years for people on below average mileage.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              Brake pads for front brakes wear in that sort of time. Rear brakes don't do as much, and can last a lot longer. These were rear drums, and didn't really need the shoes replacing at all, based on wear, but I knew something was wrong - turned out to be a broken spring - and parts were cheap enough I just replaced the lot while I was in there.

          2. MrBanana Silver badge

            Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

            "I changed the rear brake shoes on my not-really-a-classic 90s car a few weeks ago, they were clearly the originals"

            1990s, clearly original brake shoes? Don't get out much heh..And drum brakes... "not-really-a-classic" sounds like an Austin Allegro that someone on AutoTrader was punting for about 250 quid.

            1. jtaylor Bronze badge

              Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

              "1990s, clearly original brake shoes? Don't get out much heh..And drum brakes... "not-really-a-classic" sounds like an Austin Allegro"

              My 2019 Honda has rear drums. My previous car had the brake pads replaced once in 22 years/170k miles, with plenty of material remaining when I sold it.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

        "Interesting that they made no mention of vanadium, batteries based on vanadium technology promise to be more efficient and easier to scale according to the application."

        There are endless new chemistries being evaluated all of the time. Most are non-starters for one reason or another. Until one of these new "lithium killer" batteries is in volume production, it's best to ignore them.

        Fusion power is just around the corner. Should we not build any new power plants since we'll have them any time now? In the US there has been talk of having train service once again from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, but it always get derailed as HSR is just around the corner in the US. Read Arthur C Clarke's story "Superiority". In the mean time, lithium batteries are in the lead for EV's. If you are still nervous, lease an EV instead of buying so you can turn it back in a couple of years down the road when the new magic batteries will be ready.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Global commodities/mining consequences of electric cars

      Don't forget that iron mining for the steel would be several times world output.

      What often isn't taken into account with these sorts of analysis is the recycling of materials and how much of that goes back into new vehicle production.

  7. John Jennings Silver badge

    The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

    There are a some of 'pros and cons with car makers getting into battery recycling...

    Battery tech is in a state of flux - even the basic chemistry isn't finalised.

    There will be significant investment required in battery recycling - and yes different models from different vendors will have different ways to do it.... The R&D expense will be spread accross the vendors - making it less efficient.

    This means that there is little incentive for manufacturers to standardise across the industry in recycling (if Elon gets Elons batteries, and GM get theirs)

    There becomes no incentive to make batteries last longer.

    Why bother have batteries last > 4 years if first owner sells on after the initial lease/buy.

    Lockin might break the 2nd hand market - a perfectly good car might be recycled because to force the market sooner - but because the manufacturer wants the lithium. Manufactures can 'encourage' return of the vehicle by shortening the useful life of the hull and other parts. Recycling is not as efficient for the environment as reusing the veichle.

    On the other hand,

    it will be more convenient for the 'owner' or leaser - hand the keys to the dealership.

    Leasing, rather than ownership might reduce the cost - not at the cost of profit for the manufacturer.

    It might be better (for the customer) if the battery recycling is controlled further down the supply chain - mining companies perhaps?

    Just thinking

    1. MarkTriumphant

      Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

      My assumption was that the battery would be recycled, not the whole car.

      1. John Jennings Silver badge

        Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

        exactly - however, if the manufacturer of the car is also the recylcer of the battery then the incentive is to recycle the lot as you sell/lease another car.

        That way the environmental damage is significantly worse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

          Somebody buys the used cars and buys a recycled battery as well.

          Actually my neighbor bought a used Prius Hybrid and a new battery. The battery (small because it is hybrid car) was under $1000 dollars.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

          That way the environmental damage is significantly worse.

          There's no way that would be the case.

          Trade-ins for a newer model are rarely if ever scrapped; if the car's that far gone a dealer will generally point you at the nearest breaker yard as they then won't have to be a middleman who'd have to be paid for their involvement.

          And every car ending up at the scrapyard, sorry, vehicle parts salvage and reprocessing centre, gets parted out for any bit still usable in some way. Which for EVs certainly includes the batteries, even if they'd not always end up in another car that way.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

      "Why bother have batteries last > 4 years if first owner sells on after the initial lease/buy.'

      If the value of the car is very low (battery needs replacing) in 4-5 years, lease payments will be much higher. People buying outright will see that there will be little resale value and a big cost to just hang on to the car by having to replace the battery.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: The pros and cons with the carmaker recycling the batteries

        Resale value will be directly tied to the state of the battery if that's not leased.

        Looking for a used ZE we came across several that were surprisingly cheap. Turns out those all had *no battery at all*, apparently something to do with the batteries being leased and the trader not wishing/able to transfer the lease or just buy the cars plus their batteries. These were all traders in Eastern Europe offering a number of ZEs evidently used as fleet cars by French businesses and municipalities; same style and colour, and some still had their markings.

        If you buy a dozen or so ZEs and you don't know how fast you will shift them, transferring the battery leases may become a costly affair so from that perspective it makes some sense. But buying an EV without a way to move it even one inch under its own power is not something I'd go for as a private buyer.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Batteries need to be designed to be recycled/rebuilt

    Traditionally we've only been interested in getting batteries to work once or twice, they need to be redesigned to be recycled ... and remember 20 years ago when changing the battery in your phone only took 15 seconds?

    If we are going to work to slow down or maybe reverse climate change then we need to change a lot of things and keep the long term effects of our actions in focus. It's not just batteries that need to be recycled, we're just creating rubbish too often these days.

  9. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    And yet the UK is looking at turning off EV chargers at home and work for up to 9 hours a day to protect the grid. Add the climbing cost of electricity which will only fall when we give up on unreliables and it seems electric cars are in for some problems.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Hmm

      The long term problems caused by continued fossil fuel burning will greatly outweigh any EV problems.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        @James Hughes 1

        "The long term problems caused by continued fossil fuel burning"

        Like what? Electricity supply?

        "will greatly outweigh any EV problems."

        Such as no energy to charge them

    2. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      For the home chargers bit.

      The new rules simply state that new chargers (from May 2022) must be 'smart', programmable, and come with a pre-set by default programme that implements restricted usage during peak times (defined as 8am to 11am and 4pm to 10pm).

      But, the EV owner can simply override this when needed as a one off, or just change the programme if it doesn't fit with their usage pattern.

      They are basically just trying to encourage users to use off-peak charging instead.

      I suspect many EV owners, especially higher mileage ones, would be better switching to a flexible tariff, with cheap overnight electricity and try to only charge overnight. But those also increase day rates, so a bit of cost/benefit analysis would be needed to see if it would actually help.

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Re: Hmm

        I agree.

        My commute to work is about 100 miles per day. I am on a tariff that sees a ridiculously low electricity rate between 0030 and 0530 and a fairly high one for the rest of the day, so all my electricity use (EV and Powerwalls) is shifted to those 5 hours.

        This is a good way to incentivise load shifting, IMHO.

      2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        It's voluntary now. Give it time.

        https://www.gov.uk/guidance/electric-vehicle-smart-charging-smart-meter-demonstration-project

        is a project to implement smart-meter-mediated car charging control. You will only be able to charge when the energy is "low carbon". So, on windless days in winter, no EV for you!

        "Load Management" == power cuts.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "And yet the UK is looking at turning off EV chargers at home and work for up to 9 hours a day to protect the grid. Add the climbing cost of electricity which will only fall when we give up on unreliables and it seems electric cars are in for some problems."

      Yeah, very stupid to do it that way. Dynamic pricing would be much better. If you charge during peak hours, you pay a lot more. If you set the car to charge when prices are low, you save money. This also lets the grid set pricing based on supply. If it happens to be quite windy, using that to charge cars by lowering the price means better utilization rather than turning turbines off to prevent oversupply issues. It's not rocket engineering to send electric pricing down the wires.

  10. Millwright

    Aluminium air

    Aluminium air are primary batteries - not rechargeable. So they /have/ to be recycled after the equivalent of a few charges for a lithium or other secondary battery.

    They may have significant use cases, but there are enough issues with the infrastructure needed for swap-out that they're not a universal replacement.

  11. TheRealRoland
    Happy

    Down the rabbit hole i went...

    Good article about the different recycling options, and downsides for each : https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fchem.2020.578044/full

    And in general - Cobalt : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalt

    and on and on...

  12. IGotOut Silver badge

    I like the idea of an electric future...

    but parking anywhere between 50m and 500m from my house, I still have no idea how the **** I'm supposed to charge it.

    And before people mention streetlights, they are about 25m apart, well, where there are street lights that is.

  13. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Add Cobalt

    Helen Czerski did some great episodes on The Fully Charged Show (YouTube) about Lithium and recycling. One big thing that stuck with me was how it's the Cobalt that makes Li batteries much more valuable to recycle. She also exposes how little Co is mined by kids/forced labor. I believe that the more Cobalt is demanded, the less that manual mining will make any sense. Companies are going to want to contract by the ton, not the Kg. On the other hand, it will take away some very poor people's earning potential.

    The argument about where the power will come from to charge EV's, the answer is the same place the electricity comes from to refine crude oil into transportation fuels. Those refineries use a tremendous amount of power. My goal in the next couple of years is to purchase an EV, much easier since paying off the house, and installing solar panels. It works for me as I work from home. I'll also get on the EV tariff from the power company so I can recharge in the wee hours when I spend time in the field and can't plug in during daylight hours. I'd also like to get some battery storage organized, but that's further out unless business picks up a lot and it makes financial sense.

    Rather than banging on about how EV's will never work, I've been looking at ways to get it to work for me. There will be people that can't adjust, but nothing is going to be a universal fit. Those that live in built up cities with no place to charge may find themselves unable to have personal vehicles in another couple of decades. It may also be that neighborhood parking structures with basic Level 1 charging become a thing. I've already seen some apartment complexes with assigned parking adding EV charging. It's an extra monthly fee, but at some point it will be unusual to find them without basic charging included. New construction will be sited with rooftop solar in mind.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Add Cobalt

      "Rather than banging on about how EV's will never work, I've been looking at ways to get it to work for me."

      Upvote for this.

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