Electric cars and vehicles are some of the most revolutionary inventions in the 21st century, for one, they actually prove that we can start relying on a different fuel source to power our cars. These cars than run on ingenious inventions called electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and these make electric vehicles possible.
So while they do not produce smoke and any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that can harm the Earth, they are not forever. They actually needed to be disposed of like any old battery, otherwise, the users risk damaging or underpowering their vehicles or hurting themselves in the process. So how do these EV batteries get disposed? Well, they don’t.
They are not viable for landfills, not yet anyway. Instead, these used up EV batteries, tens of thousands of them to be exact, are headed to Japan to cool beverages in 7-Eleven. This operation is a lot less dangerous for regular people because refrigerators do not use as much electricity as vehicles. Besides the fact that 7-Eleven is one of the biggest convenience store chains in the world and know what they are doing, these unneeded EV batteries are quite safe for small operations.
In fact, EV batteries, at least the Lithium-ion car and bus variants can still collect and discharge electricity long after being stripped from the vehicle, It can continue providing and storing electricity for about a decade more at most. The effects of this potential of EV batteries are somewhat huge, especially for global car manufacturers, electricity utility providers, and other affected industries.
The supply of electric vehicles is also expected to increase in the near future because of increasing demands and popularity. The race for better electric vehicle technology is also starting to pick up, thanks to companies like Tesla which are making them in spades.
So much battery
Now, despite that sounding like a good thing, it is not exactly that positive. There are predictions as early as now that by 2025, the supply of EV batteries in the world are expected to exceed 3.4 million. This is according to the calculations made by Bloomberg NEF. That is a lot of batteries which can be reused and repurposed for other electrical operations.
At the moment, finding a way to recycle them is of utmost importance. After all, we would want some reusable batteries to go to waste, and then there is also the matter of more than 3 million batteries which need to go somewhere instead of just occupying more landfills.
The first to implement or at least with the initiative to do this task is China, which supplies half of the world’s EV batteries. The country and its manufacturers are now mandating car makers in August to be responsible for their expired EV batteries. The European Union also has their own regulations, this leaves the US to implement their own policies and regulations about EV batteries.
Meanwhile, the world’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla, is still on the fence regarding reuse and recycling of EV batteries. Apparently, their version of EV batteries are not up to the task of reuse, not just yet. Right now, they are focusing on recovering raw materials.
While expired EV batteries are not powerful enough for passenger vehicles, 7-Eleven has proven that they can be used for refrigeration purposes, meaning they fit right in with home use. Moreover, the said EV batteries can actually be used for storing excess electricity produced by solar panels. This has been tested and proven by a man named Lennart Nord in Sweden, where he admitted that the EV batteries worked with solar panels without a hitch.
This is a good thing for homeowners and people who use solar panels, as the stored excess electricity has many significant uses. They can get rather important in the event of a calamity or power outage, of course, since they are expired, these EV batteries are expected to be a lot more affordable than actual compact home batteries.
All that is needed, is some motivation and initiative from corporations and car makers and we could have a viable and cleaner electricity storage system in the near future. The term everybody wins certainly comes to mind with this one.