the association of austrian waste management companies (VOEB) is now calling for the urgent adaptation of the necessary legal framework for dealing with old electric vehicles.
The Tesla accident in tyrol in october 2019 brought the topic into the media for the first time: how are electric-powered vehicles disposed of and recycled safely and professionally? And not just after an accident, but in general? At the beginning of 2020, an agreement was reached with the manufacturers and importers concerned that Austrian shredder companies would only accept old electric vehicles (ELVs) without drive batteries. Experts in specialized workshops now remove the battery, and the "empty" e-cars are handed over to shredding companies for further recycling. However, this interim solution is not sufficient in view of the increasing sales of e-vehicles and hybrid vehicles. According to the latest figures from statistik austria, around one in five vehicles registered in austria in the period from January to november 2020 already had an electric or. Hybrid drive*.
Gaby july, president of the VOEB: "We urgently need to adapt the legal framework conditions. Both the handling of old and crashed electric cars as well as the recycling of the battery must be subject to uniform regulations that make sense in the long term and are valid throughout the EU."
EU battery regulation to be amended
At the european level, work is currently underway on an amendment to the battery regulation. It should also regulate the handling of batteries from electric vehicles. In the future, their traction batteries should be typed like vehicles and the origin of the individual components should be certified. Thus, every single battery should be recorded from production to disposal, thus achieving a 100% collection rate. Furthermore, individual components of car batteries should consist of sustainable secondary raw materials, the VOEB demands 12% recycled cobalt, 85% lead, 4% lithium and 4% nickel by 2030. Another goal is to achieve a recycling rate of 65 percent of the battery’s components.
Training and information
The professional handling of old electric or hybrid vehicles must be ensured in automotive workshops. Ing. Walter kletzmayr of ARGE shredder: "Industry has already taken a number of initiatives in this direction, but they need to be bundled. This is the only way we can close the current training gap across the EU and create uniform standards for the professional, safe and sustainable disposal of end-of-life electric vehicles."Emergency and rescue services must also be fully informed so that recovery, transport, temporary storage and dismantling of crashed electric vehicles do not pose a problem. "if, in the event of an accident, the components of the traction battery merge with other parts of the vehicle, the risk of fire is enormous and very dangerous for the emergency services involved."
Where to put the battery?
The battery of a purely electrically powered vehicle can weigh up to 500 kg. Removing such a battery is no child’s play – not only because of its weight, but also because its 400 volts are life-threatening. Removing the battery from hybrid vehicles is somewhat easier; with a maximum of 60 volts and 50 kg, one or two people can do it together. After removal, the batteries of electric vehicles are recycled by being used in a so-called "second life" as electricity storage in the stationary sector. If this is not the case, the raw materials contained in batteries, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, can be recovered and used as secondary raw materials in other manufacturing processes. July: "if we want electromobility, we also have to think about what happens to electric vehicles at the end of their life cycle."