California considers regulations for the manufacturing and disposal of electric vehicle batteries – KABC-TV

April 28, 2022 by No Comments

OAKLAND, Calif. — By 2035, every passenger vehicle sold in California must be a zero-emission vehicle.

That means it must run on electricity, hydrogen or another alternative fuel that does not generate air pollution to operate.

The mandate is expected to reduce greenhouse gases in the state by about 35%.

But, while zero-emission vehicles are being touted as one solution to our climate crisis, their batteries could also represent an environmental hazard.

WATCH: California leads the way in zero-emission transportation, but there are still challenges to overcome

Currently, batteries from first-generation hybrid vehicles are starting to make their way to junkyards.

We visited several auto recyclers in the San Francisco area and found hybrid batteries tossed among other car parts or piled up in a corner. One was dangling from the engine compartment of an old Prius that no longer had a hood and had many parts already pulled out.

Operators did not know what to do with them.

“There are risks associated with these aged batteries or damaged batteries. Lithium-ion batteries that we use in electric vehicles are a fire hazard. It’s important to make sure that these batteries are managed correctly at the end of life,” said Alissa Kendal, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis.

Kendall said the metals in the batteries are hazardous and could leach into the environment if they are not properly handled.

It’s a growing concern, especially in California, which is home to about 40% of the electric vehicles on the road in the United States.

Vehicles that were manufactured ten to 20 years ago are reaching their end of life.

To get ahead of the battery disposal problem, two years ago the California legislature set up an advisory panel to develop regulations on managing batteries from zero-emission vehicles.

The California Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Advisory Group was comprised of vehicle manufacturers, recyclers and environmentalists.

The goal is to ensure that batteries coming out of electric vehicles will either be recycled or reused in another electric vehicle or to store energy for the grid.

“Our electricity grid has a lot of solar and wind and intermittent renewables on it. And to be able to provide electricity continuously over the day, we need things like batteries,” said Kendall, who is writing the final report of recommendations by the advisory group.

Mohammad Rasti is already doing some of that work.

Rasti recycles old hybrid vehicle batteries that he gets from dismantlers, dealerships or individual car owners.

“We check the capacity, the voltage and the load. We see how much load they can hold and if they are reusable, we put it back in the car. If they’re not, then we recycle it,” said Rasti, who operates Hybrid Battery Solution out of a small room in San Leandro.

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George Kershner, executive director of PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association, said there is a lot of research going into making these batteries recyclable or reusable.

He does not expect electric-vehicle batteries to end up abandoned in junkyards as newer vehicles reach their end of life.

“The value of those electric vehicles is only going to increase and we would expect, because of that value, there’s going to be a lot of interest in taking those batteries, …….



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