Emil Nusbaum, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), discusses the association’s involvement in the EV battery policy and the importance of highlighting the automotive recycling industry’s role.
It is an exciting time to be in the automotive recycling industry because electric vehicles (EVs) are quickly becoming more prevalent at automotive recycling facilities. Over the last two years, governments and automotive manufacturers have made commitments to aggressively phase out new sales of internal combustion engine vehicles in favor of EVs. For example, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a rule in August requiring 100 percent of new car sales in California to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. Seventeen other states follow California’s lead in vehicle emissions controls, and some states have even codified their adherence to CARB regulations. Therefore, unless these states modify their existing laws, up to 40 percent of the current new vehicle marketplace may require new light-duty vehicles to be zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2035. As EVs proliferate, automotive recyclers are well positioned to become the primary facilitators for putting valuable electric vehicle batteries (EV batteries) to their highest and best use.
ARA’s members are the largest collective owners of total loss and end-of-life (TL/EOL) motor vehicles. They are also the largest collective owners of TL/EOL lead acid, nickel metal hydride, and lithium-ion vehicle batteries. One of the greatest concerns of automotive manufacturers and policymakers is that there may not be enough raw materials to support the demand for newly manufactured EV batteries. To further emphasize this point, the CEO of Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, announced that there will be a shortage of EV batteries by 2024-2025 due to a lack of raw materials used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. Professional automotive recyclers have an incredible opportunity to address these supply-side issues by becoming the main facilitator of TL/EOL EV batteries that can be reused, repurposed, and recycled.
ARA has been working with U.S. state and federal regulatory agencies on EV and EV battery policy in a way that highlights the importance of the automotive recycling industry. Some of the agencies ARA has engaged with are the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the California Environmental Protection Agency. Throughout ARA’s work with government regulatory agencies, ARA has advocated for a TL/EOL EV battery market that gives automotive recyclers the widest available opportunity to put EV batteries to their highest and best use while also receiving the highest and best value for their EV batteries.
As part of its work in promoting the highest and best use of TL/EOL EV batteries, ARA has developed the following hierarchy of the EV battery lifecycle. In order of highest and best use to least, EV batteries from TL/EOL vehicles ideally will be:
(1) reused as originally intended and unmodified;
(2) repaired or reconditioned for original reuse;
(3) repurposed for secondary applications;
(4) recovered for raw materials for manufacturing; and
By knowing the preferred highest, and best uses for EV batteries, policymakers will be able to make better decisions leading to a substantial majority of EV batteries being reused or recycled.
ARA has been educating, training, and certifying professional automotive recycling facilities under its Certified Automotive Recyclers (CAR) Program since 1997. For the past seven years, ARA has been training and developing resources for professional automotive recyclers on the evolving technology related to dismantling electric and hybrid vehicles. Even though the infrastructure for managing TL/EOL EV batteries is in its infancy, ARA has developed resources and training that will allow for the safe removal, handling, transportation, and reuse of EV batteries. ARA has been working to develop partnerships and relationships within the entire EV battery reuse and recycling space for over a decade.
In the absence of a formalized training program provided by vehicle manufacturers, ARA has endeavored to collect safety information to create a training program that is freely accessible to all automotive recyclers. ARA and its certification committee have been educating automotive recyclers about processing EVs through the publication of training modules and its Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Training Guide. ARA has also developed and provided an EV Readiness Checklist, a Hybrid and Electric High Voltage Vehicle Handling and Dismantling Protocol, and an EV Battery Data Base to automotive recyclers. The EV Battery Data Base contains access to information for 1650 models from 65 manufacturers specific to over 7,700 different high-voltage batteries. ARA encourages manufacturers and other stakeholders to contribute to this training and certification program that provides necessary information for the proper handling and storage of EV batteries. ARA’s training and safety information can be found at arauniversity.org.
ARA is working to ensure that the professional automotive recycling industry will continue to flourish in an electrified future.
Visit the ARA at www.a-r-a.org