|Battery recycling crucial to EV transition, execs say|
SAN DIEGO — The auto industry must find ways to recycle electric vehicle batteries as the transition from internal combustion engines accelerates toward the end of this decade, executives from automakers and major battery suppliers said at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference.
Automakers such as Ford Motor Co. have agreements with lithium, nickel and other material suppliers to meet EV production targets for 2025 and into the latter half of the decade, said Ted Miller, senior manager of battery cell research and advanced engineering at Ford.
But the industry faces "bigger risks" starting in 2030, and he said companies are "working feverishly" to manage those threats.
"There's never been this much demand for lithium on Earth, ever," Miller said at the conference Wednesday.
While companies are pouring billions of dollars into new mining and processing facilities worldwide, it takes upward of a decade for a new U.S. mine to begin extracting materials. Automakers don't have time to wait as they look to ramp up EV production and meet mandates such as California's ban on sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035.
Recycling could play a significant role in providing automakers and battery manufacturers with enough materials to produce battery cells into the next decade and beyond, said Timothy Grewe, general director of electrification strategy and cell engineering at General Motors.
GM wants at least 75 percent of the materials for its batteries sourced from within North America by 2030, Grewe said. Returned vehicles "could actually become the best source of critical materials," he said.
"We need to work with recyclers to make sure that the recycled material works just as good as anything that we can mine," Grewe said.
— John Irwin