Recycled materials will start to become widely used in electric car batteries from the end of the next decade, an industry leader has told the latest Autocar Business webinar.
Isobel Sheldon, chief strategy officer at battery manufacturer Britishvolt, said the industry is looking to figure out a way of reusing materials, such as cobalt, to reduce the amount that is dug up from the ground, as the sector looks to be more sustainable.
She said: “We have a bit of time to figure it [recycling] out. This isn’t going to be a scale thing for some time."
Once a battery is dismantled for recycling, it currently takes 10 years for those recycled parts to be incorporated in a new, commercially available battery, Sheldon said.
The comments came during Autocar’s latest business webinar, which discussed how Europe’s battery producers can future-proof their business.
Sue Slaughter, Ford’s purchasing director, said one key aspect is environmental sustainability.
“The thing that’s important is that we’re also ahead of the game in terms of energy sources,” she said. “There’s no point in having an EV if energy to make the batteries is coming from fossil fuels."
One way of reducing emissions is to localise battery production, rather than get parts shipped in from overseas, such as China. New legislation to give financial incentives to car makers shipping EVs from the UK to the EU has already been tabled, and is set to come into effect from 2027.
Slaughter said localisation is "really important" to Ford, adding: "It’s going to be important to all OEMs both here [in the UK] and in America. The world is closing in and we’re seeing issues with trade barriers coming up. That’s the other thing we have to consider going forward."
Localisation also allows production to fall within the laws of the country it is produced in, which, Ford hopes, will reduce human rights issues and improve working conditions.
“We don’t want to create a carbon-free environment if we then create lots of human rights issues,” she said.