The Second Life of Used EV Batteries

What happens to the battery when an electric vehicle goes on the road? For manufacturers, policymakers, as well as EV owners, lithium-ion batteries have an essential future because, in comparison, EVs are still a small segment of the Indian automotive market. Reusing batteries by battery recycling companies for secondary applications is a promising approach before batteries are recycled to recover critical energy materials.

The potential for battery reuse, known as ‘second life,’ may further lower the initial costs of EV batteries and raise the value of a used EV. Second-hand batteries might represent a market for inexpensive storage for utilities and electricity users, given the expanding EV sector. However, the policy plays a significant role in removing obstacles and assuring ethical, egalitarian, and sustainable behaviors to enable the widespread reuse of EV batteries.

The Market Scenario of Second Life Batteries in India

The manufacturing firms frequently use cutting-edge methods to raise client satisfaction with their vehicles and boost sales in emerging markets like India. The market for used electric car batteries is therefore predicted to grow during the forecast period as businesses adjust to a better safety system.

By improving their designs or introducing fresh automobile ideas, automakers are putting several systems into their products that draw in additional customers. Advanced features are no longer only available in high-end cars but also in everyday vehicles. Consumers are more interested in choosing vehicles that are outfitted with better sources due to their increased concern for the afterlife, reselling of the vehicle, and technological advancement, which is anticipated to drive the market for second-life electric vehicle batteries over the course of the forecast period.

However, the lack of steering sensation and the higher price compared to conventional steering systems may limit market expansion. Additionally, adoption in commercial vehicles and the availability of ADAS technologies in EVs will open up new market potential.

The Value of Used Energy Storage

The cost of the repurposed system that competes with new battery storage also affects the economics of used battery storage. Employed batteries must go through many expensive and time-consuming processes before they can be used as stationary storage. The battery health left in each pack must be evaluated because it varies for each retired system dependent on elements like environment and individual driving habits. Before modules are tested, outfitted with a new battery management system (BMS), and re-packaged, packs are frequently disassembled. The batteries must then be appropriately depleted and reconfigured to suit the energy requirements of their new use.

Potential of EV Batteries to Spark a Second-Life

EV batteries have the potential to store large amounts of energy. Since lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles undergo hundreds of partial cycles a year and differing discharge rates, they degrade strongly during the first five years of operation and are typically designed for a decade. Still, these batteries can live a second life, even if their performance no longer meets EV requirements, which include maintaining 80% of total usable capacity and achieving a resting self-discharge rate of about 5% over 24 hours. After remanufacturing, such batteries are still capable of meeting applications requiring lower performance, such as stationary energy storage.

Manufacturers have three alternatives when an EV battery approaches the end of its helpful initial life: they can discard it, recycle the valuable metals, or reuse it.

  • Packs of batteries are most frequently disposed of if they are damaged or located in areas without the requisite market infrastructure.
  • Recycling generally prevents mass disposal. Given the anticipated shortage of nickel and cobalt in the 2020s, recycling may make sense if the battery electrodes contain precious metals like cobalt and nickel because there may be a sufficient difference between the cost of procurement and recycling.
  • Before recycling, there is an option of reusing the Lithium-ion batteries. Companies can reuse the working batteries from the damaged EVs in the case of an accident. These batteries can be repaired by changing or adding additional elements to make them work. If the potential of new batteries is 100%, these reusable batteries may reduce their capacity a little bit, from 100% to 80%.

Wrapping Up

Recycling batteries is the last and most sustainable option to restore the battery’s energy. BatX Energies is a battery recycling company indulging in recycling batteries to extract rare-earth materials, such as Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, etc., and send them back to the supply chain. The company believes in developing reliable internal resources for raw materials for battery manufacturing rather than relying on exporting them from other countries.

James Chalmers
the authorJames Chalmers