These companies would be concerned that old battery packs are getting sold for stationary energy storage and lasting much longer than the four or five years they were predicted to endure. With that, they are using less than 20% of their recycling capacity.
According to Melin, that is an essential lesson for other companies and automakers to learn. Renault and Volkswagen already announced efforts to have recycling facilities. JB Straubel, Tesla’s former CTO (Chief Technical Officer), founded Redwood Materials to pursue the same goals.
"Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook"— Hans Eric Melin (@hanseric) July 2, 2021
Chinese battery recyclers are frustrated by utilization rates of less than 20% as EV batteries are used significantly longer than predicted 4-5 years, are sold for reuse to smaller companies and are exported. pic.twitter.com/N1LbrjMdu6
Battery packs will probably last up to 20 years. Some manufacturers claim their battery packs will resist more than 1 million kilometers. As the most expensive component in an electric car, these OEMs probably need them to stand that much or even more not to represent a massive liability.
The message is not to avoid opening cell recycling plants but rather to calculate their need wisely. There’s the risk that many of these companies will have nothing to recycle until electric cars overtake ICE vehicles in sales volumes and still wait quite a while until these battery packs are no longer suitable either for automotive use or stationary storage.