According to Haltrecht, one of five things can be done to an EOL EV battery: repair or remanufacture the unit; resell the battery as-is; repurpose the battery or recycle it all together.
“There are five different pathways the battery can hop to, depending on a number of factors: the health or geographic location of the battery; which damage stream activity is closest [geographically] to the battery; who has a contract on that battery and so on,” he explained.
Currently, the majority of EOL EV batteries are handled by dealers, said Haltrecht. He explained that dealerships may have unique access to shipping containers through the connection to OEMs, whereas recyclers may have to find a logistics partner for their own shipping container access.
“And it’s still too early to tell how long these shipping containers will last,” he added.
Haltrecht acknowledged that there were plenty of other questions about handling EV batteries as a repairer or recycler.
“Sharing what works and what doesn’t work is probably the single best thing we can do today.”
Anyone working on or planning to handle EVs or their components in their facility should have a thermal sensor/thermal imaging gun, a four-gas meter (that detects different gases given off by EV batteries), a fire blanket and heat-sensitive gloves on -site, Haltrecht told the audience.
“That’s the absolute minimum for safety equipment you should have on-site,” he said.
In terms of developments on detecting the health of and potential pathways for EV batteries, Haltrecht said he “can see where this is going.”
“We’ll have a very robust algorithm app on our phones, with a special cable that connects to the vehicle [to read battery diagnostics]. At certain sites, like a dismantler’s, you’ll be able to get a [battery health] reading. We’re just not quite there yet.”
The most common reasons for battery degradation are typically factors like temperature, altitude, number of charge cycles and the type of load; fast chargers will degrade a battery faster than a normal charger, added Haltrecht.