WHAT METALS DO BATTERIES CONTAIN?
Batteries contain a mixture of chemicals, the secondary (rechargeable) batteries used by most EV automotive companies contain lithium, plus a variety of other chemicals including: cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, cerium, lanthanides, plus others.
WHICH BATTERY CHEMISTRIES ARE USED IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Lithium Ion batteries are the most common type of batteries found in electric vehicles.
ARE THE BATTERIES USED IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES ALL THE SAME?
No, batteries change by shape, and chemistry. The most common battery type lithium ion and is used in laptops, mobile phones and vehicles. But lithium ion can consist of many types of chemistry, depending on the age and manufacturer. The shape can be cylindrical, a pouch or button.
HOW MUCH DO EV BATTERIES WEIGH?
This depends on the vehicle application but can range from 50 - 500 kg for cars, whilst larger vehicles will be much greater.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THESE BATTERIES AT THE MOMENT?
The batteries and accumulators directive requires all batteries to be recycled. This is to prevent them from ending up in landfill and contaminating the environment. The batteries are collected from local collectors such as shops, companies, and council sites. The batteries are then sorted by type and chemistry. once sorted, they are shipped to Europe or the USA for recycling. Very few batteries are reused or repaired.
WHY ARE BATTERIES NOT RECYCLED IN THE UK?
At present, batteries are collected from across the UK, sorted by chemistry and shipped to Belgium or France for pyrometallurgical of hydrometallurgical (respectively) for material recovery.
ARE THE BATTERIES HAZARDOUS?
The secondary (rechargeable) batteries tend to contain materials that are deemed hazardous. This means that special measures must be taken into account when storing, transporting and handling these batteries.
WHICH TYPE OF BATTERIES ARE USED IN VEHICLES?
Electric vehicles use two types of batteries:
- Automotive batteries - used for lighting, ignition, or starter.
- Industrial batteries - labelled as those used for traction.
WHY ARE THE PROPULSION BATTERIES IN EVS NOT CLASSIFIED AS AUTOMOTIVE BATTERIES?
This is to distinguish the jobs of the batteries and how they perform. Because of the very different applications within the vehicle, the industrial propulsion battery and the automotive battery tend to be of different chemistries, different charge and capacity and therefore separate handling and identification is required.