March 27, 2019 – Volkswagen has proven that it is thinking of the future. Not just the future in terms of technology and electric vehicles but what is going to happen when those vehicles are no longer running.
The OEM announced a pilot plant for recycling electric vehicle batteries in Salzgitter, Northern Germany which will go into operation in 2020 and is designed to initially produce 1,200 tonnes per year which adds up to 3,000 electric vehicle batteries. The project in Salzgitter is to be followed by further recycling plants in the next few years.
A further increase in capacity is envisioned for subsequent years. However, large quantities of battery returns are not expected until the end of 2020 in any case. That is when the first large proportion of electric vehicles (which will be sold in greater volumes starting in 2020) will have reached the end of their working life.
Volkswagen is going to look at reusing these lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will be analyzed and sorted and determined if they can be given a second use. The batteries will be shredded into a fine powder so the OEM can gather valuable raw materials from it such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel.
“In the long term, a very ambitious goal has been set up: to recycle 97 percent of all raw materials. Today, it is 53 percent, and the plant in Salzgitter will bring this figure up to 72 percent,” Volkswagen said in a statement.