ELECTRIC VEHICLE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

INCLUDING BATTERIES, UTILITY GRID, MINING, EMISSIONS, SAFETY

 

BATTERY RECYCLING

May 2024 – Automotive Logistics: Ascend Elements and Call2Recycle launch battery recycling service

“Ascend Elements and Call2Recycle have signed an agreement to provide dealerships, recyclers and repair customers with EV battery management, logistics and recycling services. Working together, the companies aim to collect and recycle the equivalent of over 300,000 EV battery packs by 2030.”

 

Oct. 2023 – Union of Concerned Scientists: How Are EV Batteries (Actually) Recycled?

“Electric Vehicle (EV) battery recycling is crucial to a sustainable, electrified transportation system. A substantial portion of key minerals for electrifying could come from recycled batteries by 2050, dramatically reducing the need for new mining.”

 

Sept. 2023 – Climate Portal, MIT: How well can electric vehicle batteries be recycled?

“Millions of electric vehicles are now being sold around the world, containing large lithium-ion batteries. For reasons of both safety and sustainability, these batteries must be recycled or carefully disposed of when the cars reach the end of their driving lives.”

 

Sept. 2023 - The International, Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT): EV battery recycling plants in the United States

 

BATTERY REPURPOSING

April 2024 – Western Resource Advocates (WRA): From Road to Renewal: Giving Electric Vehicle Batteries a Second Life

“One of the best-kept secrets about electric vehicles is that, unlike traditional vehicles, the battery that powers the vehicle can have a 'second life' after the vehicle itself is retired. It can be reused, repurposed, and, ultimately, the critical minerals contained in the battery can be recycled to make new ones.”

 

Nov. 2023 – Wired: Millions of EV Batteries Could Retire to Solar Farms

“On a 20-acre parcel outside the tiny Southern California town of New Cuyama, a 1.5-megawatt solar farm uses the sun’s rays to slowly charge nearly 600 batteries in nearby cabinets. At night, when energy demand rises, that electricity is sent to the grid to power homes with clean energy.”

 

July 2023 – Utility Dive: EV batteries can be repurposed as grid storage to reduce battery supply chain impacts: report

“Repurposing old batteries from electric vehicles in alternative energy storage applications – like at fast-charging stations or rooftop and microgrid storage systems – is one of the ways to extend EV battery lifespans and electrify the transportation sector in a more sustainable manner, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council.”

 

BATTERY ALTERNATIVES

May 2024 – Recurrent: Why We're Excited about LFP Batteries for Electric Cars

“Benefits of LFP Batteries: cost savings, longer life, more resistant to aging from fast charging, lower fire risk, fewer environmental and ethical issues

Downsides of LFP Batteries: lower energy density, worse performance in sub-freezing temperatures”

 

Jan. 2024 – Automotive Powertrain Technology International: Focus on: Alternatives to lithium-ion battery chemistries

“Batteries continue to improve, in terms of reduced costs, increasing energy and/or power density, and the rate at which cells can reliably accept charge. At present the universal common factor in passenger car batteries is the use of some form of lithium chemistry. There is little doubt that there is steady improvement in lithium cell performance, but it is steady and incremental. Will there be an alternative that offers a major improvement in one or more important aspect of battery behavior, such as energy density, charging rate, durability or safety?”

 

EFFECT ON GRID

Oct 2023 – National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): Electric Vehicles Play a Surprising Role in Supporting Grid Resiliency

“Widespread electrification initiatives are increasing the demands on America’s aging power grid, but utilities and consumers may have an unlikely ally in electric vehicles (EVs).

 

Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Leiden University’s Institute of Environmental Sciences in the Netherlands evaluates how vehicle-to-grid (V2G) bidirectional charging programs may offer short-term grid storage opportunities.”

 

July 2023 – Utility Dive: EVs will bring ‘unprecedented’ power demand, but their flexibility can improve grid reliability, utilities say

“Utilities are preparing for unprecedented demand growth from electric vehicles but say it is a 'misconception' that the power grid will be overloaded and become unstable. New system planning and load management tools must be developed, but EVs are a flexible load that experts say can improve grid resilience.”

 

MINING FOR METALS

Jan. 2024 – International Energy Forum (IEF): How to make mining more sustainable

“The growing demand for renewable energy technology and electrification presents a paradox. While these technologies are critical for achieving net-zero targets, their production relies heavily on mining for critical minerals — an industry that can have harmful environmental and social impacts. As mining ramps up to supply minerals for renewable power projects and electrification, how can we protect communities and the environment?”

 

Dec. 2023 – PBS News: Mining is necessary for the green transition. Here’s why experts say we need to do it better

“Before a solar panel can be installed on a roof or an electric bus can hit the streets, manufacturers first have to get their hands on key metals and minerals. But to meet the demands of the transition away from fossil fuels, experts say more sustainable approaches are needed to minimize the effects the mining industry can have on the planet, people and their communities.”

 

EV vs HYBRID vs GAS

Oct. 2022 – Climate Portal, MIT: Are electric vehicles definitely better for the climate than gas-powered cars?

“Although many fully electric vehicles (EVs) carry 'zero emissions' badges, this claim is not quite true. Battery-electric cars may not emit greenhouse gases from their tailpipes, but some emissions are created in the process of building and charging the vehicles. Nevertheless, says Sergey Paltsev, Deputy Director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, electric vehicles are clearly a lower-emissions option than cars with internal combustion engines. Over the course of their driving lifetimes, EVs will create fewer carbon emissions than gasoline-burning cars under nearly any conditions.”

 

EV SOURCES OF POWER

Sept. 2023 – Yale Climate Connections: Electric vehicles reduce carbon pollution in all U.S. states

“…do EVs really lower carbon emissions, even when the electricity feeding the car comes from heavily polluting sources? (Looking at you, West Virginia*.) The answer – thankfully – is a resounding yes. Compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars emit substantially less carbon dioxide pollution, no matter which form of energy is used to recharge them.”

*”Even an EV charged on West Virginia’s coal-dominated grid will still reduce carbon dioxide pollution by around 30%.”

 

EV vs GAS VEHICLE SAFETY & FIRES

May 2024 – LiveScience: Are electric vehicles safer than gas-powered cars? Maybe for the passengers—but not for everyone else

“None of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests of EVs have sparked any fires. New Car Assessment Program crash test reports yield comparable findings. While real-world data analysis on vehicle fires involving EVs is limited, it appears that media and social media scrutiny of EV fire hazard is blown out of proportion.

 

What stands out about EV safety is that crash test results, field injury data and injury claims from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety all reveal that EVs are superior to their internal combustion counterparts in protecting their occupants.”