Interview Synopsis

EV battery recycling – are EVs really ESG-friendly?

  • Multi Asset
  • Industrials
  • Europe

Electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling remains a relatively small — and risky — business. “There’s no serious battery recycling in the market today,” a former SVP at Umicore SA/NV told Third Bridge Forum. However, the issue is extremely important, as EV batteries are toxic and uptake is accelerating, raising questions about how eco-friendly EVs really are. 

The road ahead for EV battery recycling

How long an EV battery lasts and whether its life can be extended — for further EV use or another application — were first on the Interview agenda. After explaining typical lifespans, the expert said developments that could encourage the latter include the rise of solid-state batteries and silicon-based anodes. 

In terms of global recycling capacity and the competitive landscape, we were told that the market has not yet settled. “There are a lot of experiments going on,” the specialist said. “There are no real players, strong players, and the reason for that is that nobody has a view on the full cost of battery recycling on a large scale.”

The Interview looked at the challenges to ramping up capacity — notably, which part of the supply chain should be financially responsible for it. Will it be the OEMs? “No, the OEMs will not do that because they don’t have the capabilities and the know-how in-house,” the expert said. They’re also hesitant to invest in this process because they expect the net value of batteries to be negative at end of life. However, ultimately, OEMs will “have no choice” but to recycle.  

Which players in the market could potentially lead the way in future developments was also discussed, with the specialist emphasising that “there is certainly know-how and people in the market who can do this, but without these people, it’s not possible”.

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s EV battery recycling – are EVs really ESG-friendly? Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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