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By Peter Menyasz
Dec. 28 — The U.S., Canada and Mexico must devise alternative uses for end-of-life electric vehicle batteries by 2030, when more than 1.5 million electric vehicles in North America are expected to reach the end of their useful life, according to a new report from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Recycling of current batteries is driven by the value of the nickel and cobalt they contain, but that no longer may be if new types of batteries contain less valuable components, said the report published Dec. 22 by the Montreal-based agency that administers the environmental side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
End-of-life vehicle batteries still retain about 80 percent of their capacity and although no longer suitable for vehicle use, they could be used for residential and commercial electric power management, power grid stabilization and renewable energy system management, the report said.
“Directing used EDV [electric drive vehicle] batteries to second-use applications could benefit the environment by delaying the recycling of batteries and fully utilizing their capabilities prior to recycling,” it said. “Over the longer term, recycling and refurbishing of EDV batteries will play an important role in reducing the costs of EDVs.”
The governments of the U.S., Canada and Mexico must ensure that design changes to incorporate less costly materials in batteries are assessed for sound environmental management when the batteries reach the end of their useful life, and must provide appropriate legislation to support and promote recycling of the batteries, the report said.
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