Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of transportation, offering many advantages over conventional cars, such as lower emissions, higher efficiency, and reduced maintenance costs. However, EVs also pose a challenge when it comes to their batteries, which have a limited life span and need to be replaced after a certain number of cycles.
What can you do with your old EV batteries when they are no longer suitable for powering your vehicle? Do you have to pay a hefty fee to dispose of them, or can you actually make some money from them?
The good news is that there are several ways to reuse or recycle your old EV batteries and even earn cash. In this article, we will explore some of the options you have and how they work.
Why Reuse or Recycle Your Old EV Batteries?
Before we dive into the details of how to make money from your old EV batteries, let’s first understand why it is important to reuse or recycle them in the first place.
One of the main reasons is environmental. EV batteries contain valuable metals and minerals, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper, which are finite and scarce resources that require a lot of energy and water to mine and process. By reusing or recycling these materials, you can help reduce the environmental impact of mining and manufacturing new batteries and prevent them from ending up in landfills or incinerators, where they can cause pollution and health hazards.
Another reason is economic. EV batteries are expensive components that account for a significant portion of the cost of an EV. By reusing or recycling them, you can recover some of the value of your investment and reduce the cost of ownership of your EV. Moreover, you can also contribute to the development of a circular economy, where waste is minimized and resources are optimized.
According to a report by Precedence Research, the global electric vehicle battery recycling market size was valued at USD 1.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach around USD 19.3 billion by 2030, growing at a high CAGR of 31.87% during the forecast period 2022 to 2030. This shows that there is a huge potential for making money from your old EV batteries in the coming years.
How to Make Money from Your Old EV Batteries?
Now that we have established why it is beneficial to reuse or recycle your old EV batteries let’s look at some of the ways you can do so and how much money you can make from them.
Sell Them to a Second-Life Program
One of the most common ways to make money from your old EV batteries is to sell them to a second-life program. These are programs that take used batteries and repurpose them for other applications, such as energy storage, backup power, or grid services.
For example, Nissan has a program called 4R Energy that uses old Leaf batteries to power street lights, buildings, or charging stations. BMW has a similar program called Battery 2nd Life that uses old i3 batteries to store renewable energy. Tesla also has a plan to use its old batteries for its Powerwall and Powerpack products.
The advantage of selling your old EV batteries to a second-life program is that you can get some money back for them and also help reduce waste and emissions. The downside is that you may get little money for them, as the programs usually pay based on the remaining capacity and quality of the batteries.
According to Battery University, an online resource on battery technology, the average price for a used EV battery pack is around USD 100 per kWh. If you have an old battery pack with a capacity of 40 kWh (such as in a Nissan Leaf), you could get around USD 4,000 for it. However, this price may vary depending on the condition and demand of the battery pack.
Recycle Them for Materials
Another way to make money from your old EV batteries is to recycle them for materials. This means breaking down the batteries and extracting valuable metals and minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper.
Recycling EV batteries is good for the environment and the economy, as it reduces the dependence on imported materials and creates new jobs. According to Reuters, the US government is offering incentives for recycling EV batteries, such as grants, tax credits, and loans. This is part of its strategy to boost domestic production of critical minerals and compete with China, which dominates the global battery market.
The benefit of recycling your old EV batteries for materials is that you can get a higher price than selling them to a second-life program. The drawback is that recycling EV batteries is still a complex and costly process that requires specialized equipment and facilities. You may also have to deal with transportation and safety issues when handling hazardous materials.
According to a report by Market Data Centre, the average price for recycled EV battery materials is around USD 1,000 per ton. If you have an old battery pack weighing 300 kg (such as in a Tesla Model 3), you could get around USD 300 for it. However, this price may vary depending on the market conditions and the quality of the materials.
Donate Them to a Research Project
A third way to make money from your old EV batteries is to donate them to a research project. This means giving your batteries to a university, a laboratory, or a company that is working on developing new technologies or improving existing ones related to EVs.
For example, Ford has donated some of its old Focus Electric batteries to a research project at the University of Michigan that aims to improve battery performance and durability. Honda has also donated some of its old Fit EV batteries to a research project at Ohio State University that aims to optimize battery management systems.
The advantage of donating your old EV batteries to a research project is that you can contribute to advancing science and innovation in the EV industry. You may also get some recognition or appreciation from the researchers or the public. The disadvantage is that you may only get money for your donation if the project offers some compensation or reward.
According to a report by IMARC Group, some of the research projects that are looking for old EV batteries are:
- The ReCell Center is a US Department of Energy initiative that aims to develop advanced recycling technologies and processes for EV batteries.
- The ReLIB Project is a UK-based consortium that aims to create a circular economy for lithium-ion batteries by developing innovative methods for recovery and reuse.
- The LIBAT Project is an EU-funded project that aims to develop novel solutions for battery testing, diagnosis, and second-life applications.
As you can see, many ways to make money from your old EV batteries exist. You can sell them to a second-life program, recycle them for materials, or donate them to a research project. Each option has pros and cons, so you should consider them carefully before deciding what to do with your old EV batteries.
Remember that your old EV batteries are not just trash but valuable resources that can be reused or recycled. By making money from them, you can recover some of your investment in your EV and help the environment and the economy. So don’t let your old EV batteries go to waste, turn them into cash instead!