AUTO PUNDITZ
  • Team Auto Punditz

Volkswagen shows a new way for recycling and reusing EV batteries


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The Electric Vehicle revolution is on our doorsteps, threatening to break the doors of the Conventional Automobile Industry and transform it any time soon.

However, the EV revolution would also come with a different type of challenge. The challenge of how to handle the millions of batteries, at the end of their life cycles; and from where all the metal and material to build new batteries will come from.

The Volkswagen group has provided one answer to both these challenges: recycle/reuse battery and the metals/materials, for the new batteries.



Volkswagen Group has opened its first EV battery recycling plant at Salzgitter, Germany earlier this year, after a decade of research. The pilot plant has been designed and has more energy-efficient techniques than the current battery recycling techniques. It has a goal of recapturing more than 95% of the material, in an EV battery, for reuse. This includes the rare metals, that are used to store electricity.


“We know from many years of research that recycled battery raw materials are just as efficient as new ones,” says Mark Möller, Head of Technical Development & E-Mobility Business Unit at Volkswagen Group Components. “We plan to support our cell production in the future with the material we have recovered. We really want to use every possible gram of recovered material as the demand for batteries rises sharply.”


The current battery recycling methods require essential melting down the complicated mix of materials in a furnace, which recovers about 60 percent of the materials inside.

The process being developed in the Salzgitter plant uses several mechanical steps that are designed to recover up to 95 percent of a battery pack’s materials for reuse.

In an 880-lb. battery pack, the plant can now recover about 220 pounds of key electrode minerals: lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese.



The Salzgitter plant can presently handle about 3,600 battery packs a year.

It is expected that as more experience is gained with the process, the system will be expanded to handle the first wave of retired EV battery packs in the 2020s, thus supplying materials for new batteries, in a closed-loop system that is sustainable.


This will have great potential to reduce the need for mining raw materials while increasing the raw material supply too.

Also, it would position Volkswagen Group as a pioneer in building a recyclable materials cycle.

This will have great potential to reduce the need for mining of raw materials while increasing raw material supply.

Also, it would position Volkswagen Group as a pioneer in building a recyclable materials cycle.