Report Says Used EV Batteries Should Be Recycled, Not Reused

Even though they still have leftover storage capacity once they’ve degraded too far for automotive use, lithium-ion batteries should be recycled, not reused.

At least, that’s what a new report says.

Automakers have been experimenting with alternative uses for these batteries, but a report from Lux Research suggests that recycling the battery packs would be a better use that re-using them.

SEE ALSO: GM Says Li-ion Battery Cells Down To $145/kWh and Still Falling

The report states that re-use leads to “questionable returns on account of reduced performance,” the report said, and that batteries being re-used experience “less frequent and shallower depth of discharge cycles.”

In Lux’s view, that means used batteries from EVs will not be suited for duty for residential energy storage. Even if it used batteries are cheaper up front, the report says, “reduced round-trip efficiency and cycle life” makes them a poor fit.

SEE ALSO: Next-Gen Batteries Approaching Commercial Scale to Compete with Lithium-ion

That will come as bad news to BMW and Nissan, which both have communicated interest in marketing used lithium-ion battery packs from their EVs for residential use. General Motors, Nissan and Toyota have also looked into such energy-storage systems for commercial use, although in Toyota’s case the batteries are nickel-metal-hydride.

Tesla, however, recycles its batteries, as they are not suitable for energy storage in most cases.

Lux Research says that smelting is the most mature among recycling technologies, and with 65 gigawatt hours of so-called “second life” battery packs poised to enter market in 2035, it will be interesting to see if companies follow Lux’s advice.

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