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What Happens To The Millions Of Electric Car Batteries When They Die
Due to electric vehicles' rising popularity, battery waste will become a major issue — experts estimate that 12 million tons of batteries will be thrown away by 2030. The conundrum that manufacturers and consumers have is that although they can be recycled, there are not enough facilities to handle them — only four lithium-ion recycling centers exist in the United States.
Recycling car batteries is an arduous and dangerous process that involves splitting them apart to extract the metals inside, which risks toxic fume emissions or an outright explosion. Other issues include finding proper transportation and storage, given EV batteries weigh about 960 pounds; being fire hazards if stored together; and potentially contaminating the soil in landfills.
Outside of recycling, old EV batteries can be repurposed as a renewable energy source for homes and businesses, which can extend their life cycle by another seven to ten years. Toyota offers a good example with its initiative to sustainably power Yellowstone Park with solar panels powered by batteries that once belonged in Camry Hybrids, replacing diesel generators.