One of the big “gotchas” that EV opponents on social media like to pluck is the future of batteries. In their minds, expensive EV battery packs don’t last long and aren’t recyclable at all. In other words, electric cars are not very environmentally friendly. Checkmate, Library!
But they shouldn’t claim victory so quickly. There are some gaping holes in the argument (even though we knew that wouldn’t stop them from making it over and over again).
The good news is that a recent Toyota press release indicates that claim is less true than ever in 2022. But first, let’s talk about battery life.
EV batteries can easily outlast cars
As pointed out earlier here clean technica, the biggest issue in their argument is that the battery pack probably extends the life of the car. ), which can span hundreds of thousands of miles over the life of the vehicle. Tesla batteries are known for their longevity, with one Tesla cab going over 180,000 miles on his first battery and continuing over 600,000 miles on his second battery. Another Tesla battery (powered extensively for Uber) lasted 250,000 miles before needing replacement. After that, the second battery had at least 175,000+ miles and was still in good condition (less than 20% degraded).
Many people think that Tesla is the only car company that makes good electric cars, and therefore the only company that makes battery packs that last this long, but this is simply not true. There are other vehicles such as the Volt EV that prove long-lasting packs are possible.
Although the Volt has some drawbacks (55 kW charging), it has proven to withstand degradation very well, even with heavy use, such as in Uber, and fast and frequent charging. Not entirely reliable, but there are plenty of tales from Bolt owners that he “heard from someone” that he had over 200,000 miles without the car deteriorating at all. We can confirm that at least one is real, not what we call the 31 fallacies. Here’s the video:
So clearly, in the future there will be many battery cells and battery packs that will outlast the vehicles in which they are built.
What do you do with these batteries?
The next obvious question from the assholes and oil-funded shills is what happens to all the orphaned batteries. Now let’s go back to “”.Checkmate, library!”
Or are we?
Recycling is certainly difficult, but battery cell life isn’t there yet. Even after the car wears out, gets wrecked, or gets a different one because the original lost so much range, there are still some things these battery cells can do. To give the “checkmate, library” guy the benefit of the doubt, let’s (mistakenly) assume that all old batteries are useless for transportation, as they’ve lost half their range.
Still, persistent storage is a great use for them. The weight per unit of energy (kWh) stored is at least double what it was when new, and the comparison could be even worse when compared to future EV batteries.
But we’ve had this persistent storage discussion for years now without much real-world testing.
Toyota recycled battery to grid test
A few days ago (October 27), JERA Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation launched the world’s first large-capacity sweeping energy storage system. The system was created using batteries from previously owned electric vehicles (HEV, PHEV, BEV, FCEV) that are now connected to the consumer’s power grid.
Demand for storage batteries is expected to increase with the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This is because as renewable energy becomes more widely used, it will help stabilize the electricity supply. At the same time, the limited resources of battery materials such as cobalt and lithium require careful use. One way to do this is by recycling used batteries from electrified vehicles so that they can be reused as accumulators.
After initial discussions in 2018 between JERA and Toyota on establishing battery reuse technology, they eventually created this high-capacity, grid-connected Sweep Energy Storage System. Toyota’s new storage system, called Sweep, allows the use of old car batteries that would otherwise be thrown away. It does this by controlling the energy discharge through a series of connected batteries in microseconds.
According to Toyota, the sweep function enables AC output directly from the battery, reusing the in-vehicle inverter that eliminates the need for a power conditioner. This helps reduce costs associated with power loss when converting AC to DC in the PCS. Overall, this also improves the efficient use of energy. It’s unlikely they figured out an actual AC battery, but they probably claim this because they recycle car electronics to convert DC to AC.
The JERA-Toyota project plans to store electricity from the facility in grid batteries at JERA’s Yokkaichi Thermal Power Station, which is connected to Chubu Electric Power Grid Co., Ltd. By the mid-2020s, when the system is fully operational, it will supply 100,000 kWh of energy, reducing both the operating costs and CO2 emissions of the energy storage system.
In addition, JERA is improving the process of recycling lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles with little environmental impact. Toyota plans to support JERA by sharing its accumulated know-how and battery recycling know-how. The two companies will accelerate the realization of a recycling-oriented society by collecting used batteries and reusing resources.
What about recycling?
I could link to so many stories clean technica By running around initiatives on battery recycling and pointing out what Toyota’s press releases mention, we’re already decades away from EVs wearing out and the cells becoming useless for stationary storage. It is important to note that Today’s experimental, relatively small-scale recycling efforts will have spent a lot of time improving and expanding by then. The majority of EV battery components should definitely be recycled.
Main image provided by Toyota.
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