Volkswagen recycling project targets spent batteries
The auto industry's big push into electric vehicles will lead to a big problem down the road: What to do with all those lithium ion batteries once they've lost their oomph?
It's the central question behind a pilot recycling project that Volkswagen Group plans to launch at a factory in Salzgitter, Germany.
Beginning in 2020, the plant will accept about 1,200 tons of used automotive lithium ion battery packs a year — the equivalent of what's in about 3,000 EVs today. The battery packs will be analyzed and sorted; those with some life left will be given a second use, such as mobile vehicle charging stations.
Batteries that are spent will be shredded and ground to a fine powder so their valuable and rare raw materials - including lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel - can be extracted and sorted for use in new battery packs.
Volkswagen believes that, within 10 years, it will be able to recycle up to 97 percent of all the raw materials used in the battery packs driving its upcoming EVs.