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so what do you say to this? I was sent this post from an ev hater.


Active Member
Nov 30, 2017
The rise of electric cars could leave us with a big battery waste problem

"In the 'Future' what are we going to do with all the toxic battery waste ? What's the cost of that ?

Will you pay for the recycling / disposal after the car goes south, or will we just lay that bill onto the next generation of adults ? Someone needs to think past step one..."
some one wrote to my comment that electric cars are the future.
I don't believe anybody is throwing away EV sized batteries yet.
Most are refurbishing them and/or using them for commercial storage such as UPS arrays for corporate computer sites.
The batteries going in the trash are from notebooks, cellphones, handtools, etc. That is going to be hard to change.

And a totally shorted EV battery cell has scrap value due to the metals inside. They are not going in the trash.
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Nearly all of the battery can be recycled and they are setting up recycling facilities at the Gigafactory. The lithium in the battery doesn't get used up. It can be used again and again.

Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it will be done. If Tesla finds they can't turn a profit recycling spent cells, I strongly doubt they'll do it.

It's hard to find discussions of the topic online that aren't ideologically biased, but my understanding is that current economics don't support recycling of lithium batteries. There's just not enough value in the raw materials vs the cost of separating and purifying them. (Here's one seemingly credible source expounding on this topic.)

Maybe in the future, economies of scale, innovative recycling processes, increases in commodity prices, or government regulations will change this reality. Or maybe the standard practice for dealing with spent batteries (after any 2nd-life reuse, of course) will simply continue to be disposal -- possibly with some kind of processing that reduces toxicity to the environment.

Regardless, the true question isn't whether BEVs are perfect for the environment/society. It's whether they're better than ICE vehicles while accounting for ALL types of pollution, including air pollution and greenhouse gases from burning gasoline.
You'd think that that *storage* of lithium batteries would be cheap enough that it might be worth stockpiling them in the expectation that recycling will become more affordable with new technology or more compelling with more scarce resources in the future.
Tell them don't worry about it. Someone else can make money off that problem. Most businesses profit from solving someone else's problem. Tell him/her to follow the money.

E.g. Tesla is profitting (depending on how you see it) from the legacy automaker's CAFE problem as well as being entrenched in ICE assets. Pick any other problem.

If you get big enough, you can strong arm the government. Ask Big Oil how they're doing it!

Bottom line: Which problem does he want?

Problems of ICE vs Problems of EV
I am reminded of the FUDslinging handwringers back in the day when the first highways were built - this being well before Eisenhower's interstate effort.

The FUDsters (who in hindsight must have been shorting Big Oil) spread the terrifying notion that if vehicles were allowed to go forth and multiply, we'd all drown in a sea of rubber dust and bits that would accumulate like dirty snow on the sides of every highway and byway.

I can only imagine their consternation when nobody drowned of rubber asphyxiation.

Today the FUDsters seem to have reincarnated by spreading the canards of battery pollution, how electricity is dirty. and the EV subsidy thing.

I would suggest that today's batteries can and are already being repurposed as well as recycled, that coal and nuclear are on the decline despite the best efforts of the current administration, and as we all know, the oil industry is FAR more subsidized than is the totality of green energy.

I was approached in a parking lot one time by an asshat with his hand out as he pointedly demanded his tax credit that he felt he gave me. I let him keep his hand, but not until correcting his bubble-headed talk radio rhetoric about six different ways.

Sometimes you have to set people straight, and sometimes it's better to ignore the noise. Good luck with that balance :)
This. Computer and phone batteries don't get recycled because it just isn't cost effective to collect them. A 600 kg EV battery certainly is.

It's a lot of identical large metal boxes.
Containing a bunch of identical smaller metal boxes.
Containing a bunch of identical cells.

Unlike consumer electronics manufacturers, PEV manufacturers are at a capacity scale where they'll care about the commodities.
Computer and phone batteries don't get recycled because it just isn't cost effective to collect them

We (in my part of the UK) have a recycle collection - we have two bins, one for "land fill" the other for "recycle", the council collect them on alternate weeks. The recycle bin takes mixed waste (they sort it, somehow ...). The bin has a specific hook on the side for batteries - just put them in a plastic bag and hang it on there.

Plenty of places in the UK require consumers to separate out all their recycle into umpteen different boxes ... crazy, like the majority of people are going to do that?? ... but around here we are lucky in having mixed-recycle collection ... except for batteries :)

Clearly not going to be able to hang my MS battery on that hook, when the time comes ...