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    While EVs are getting increased acceptability in India, the country is just not prepared to tackle the related problem of disposing of used lithium-ion batteries. Reduction in battery prices have made EVs more affordable, leading to their higher sales; but a solution to disposal of dead batteries is not yet in sight. It’s time to focus on this serious problem.

    The rapid adoption of electric vehicles across the globe has underlined another problem – that of used (or dead) EV batteries and their proper disposal. In tandem with rest of the world, India too has set an ambitious target of transforming 30 per cent of its automotive fleet into electric by the year 2030. To achieve that, the country not only needs to create the required infrastructure but also prepare itself to tackle the EV battery-recycling problem right now.

    EV batteries are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, making them larger and heavier than most batteries, all of which would need dismantling once dead. They are full of hazardous material and have a tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly, thereby making them dangerous to dispose of.

    • EV batteries are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, making them larger and heavier than most batteries, all of which would need dismantling once dead.
    • Since around 40 per cent of the cost of an EV comprises the cost of its battery, improved technology is leading to decline in battery prices, which in turn is making the electric vehicles cheaper.
    • Nissan is reusing old batteries from its Leaf cars in the automated guided vehicles that deliver parts to workers in its factories. German multinational BASF is also a major player in lithium-ion battery recycling.

    EV adoption is gaining momentum with regular advancements in technology and steady decrease in prices of the vehicles. Since around 40 per cent of the cost of an EV comprises the cost of its battery, improved technology is leading to decline in battery prices, which in turn is making the electric vehicles cheaper. Better affordability is leading to higher EV sales, and also aggravating the problem of dead EV batteries.

    Currently, EV adoption is getting increased acceptability in the country with the available option of battery-swapping. But that, certainly, is not the ultimate solution for mass adoption of these greener vehicles. The European Union and China have mandated the TV manufacturing companies to determine the right use of batteries after their first use. For example, Nissan is reusing old batteries from its Leaf cars in the automated guided vehicles that deliver parts to workers in its factories. German multinational BASF is also a major player in lithium-ion battery recycling while Belgian mining company Umicore recycles EV batteries for Tesla and Audi cars. Many other companies are making use of dismantled parts of the battery systems, such as aluminium and copper, converting them into established recycling streams.

    The Indian market is still at a raw stage as far as establishing a strong asset in tackling this serious problem is concerned. While the EV sales are bound to rise further, the county is totally unprepared for a backup plan for used lithium-ion batteries. It’s time the battery manufacturers and startups in the country put their heads together and came up with a solution to this inevitable problem.

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