What happens to the old batteries of electric cars? The manufacturers still owe us an answer, because the battery life is longer than expected. The question is: recycling or upcycling?

For scrap cars, there has been an established process for recycling and recycling for decades: The compaction of the cars is simple and cost-effective, the smelting and re-use by the steel industry as well. In virtually every scrap car, its material value exceeds the cost of recovery. Visit LinkedIn Kinsbursky Brothers page for knowing more about it.

But conventional cars lack a component that is essential in electric vehicles: the battery. You can not just crush them – how to deal with them when they arrive at the end of their lifespan is one of the big, open questions of electromobility.

Long guarantee: The topic is still not acute

Electric cars have only been on the market in large numbers for a few years, so virtually every battery ever installed in an electric car is currently in service.

So far, there’s anecdotal data on how long electric car batteries really hold in practice┬á – the test quantity is actually only for manufacturer Tesla, who now has a total of over 300,000 electric cars on the streets worldwide , and for Nissan with his long-running Leaf ┬╗, meaningful.

Tesla batteries last longer than Nissan

Here, however, shows a big difference among manufacturers in the longevity of the batteries of their electric cars:

While the first Tesla Model S have now reached mileages of 500’000 to 800’000 kilometers , a remaining capacity of around 80 percent is apparent after this distance, drivers with “more normal” driving performance report 94% remaining capacity after five years .

On the other hand, drivers of Nissan vehicles such as the Leaf have to expect more losses in their range: especially with the larger 30 kWh battery variant, the batteries were often already at the level of 80% after only two years . This difference may be explained by the different cell chemistry that each manufacturer chooses, as well as by the company’s ability to build efficient charge management in the battery that will conserve battery cells over the long term.

However, from the manufacturer’s warranty information can be guessed what they expect. Tesla guarantees, for example, that the Model 3 battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity even after eight years of operation , otherwise there will be a free replacement. Nissan guarantees its Leaf at least 79% capacity after eight years or 160,000 km mileage.

A car battery is not a smartphone battery

If you compare a car battery with the battery in his smartphone, is on the wrong track. The two battery technologies differ fundamentally in their structure and in their charge control, so that batteries in electric cars will have a multiple of the lifetime.

But the fact is that in a few years, when the vehicles and batteries of the first electric car upswing have arrived at the end of their lives, solutions will have to be available for their further use.