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IARC 24

International Roundtable on Auto Recycling Tackles EV Recycling Challenges in Virtual Webinar

On May 2, 2024, the International Roundtable on Auto Recycling (IRT) hosted a virtual webinar entitled Beyond Batteries: Mastering the EV Recycling Challenge.

 

International Roundtable on Auto Recycling Tackles EV Recycling Challenges in Virtual Webinar soc

The event saw registrations from 150 participants from 25 countries

The event was co-hosted by Steve Fletcher with the Automotive Recyclers of Canada and Haydn Davies from Auto Recycling World. The two have been collaborating to revitalize the IRT, which had to take a hiatus because of the travel restrictions associated with COVID-19. Previously, the IRT met 11 times around the world since 2005 but pivoted to a virtual format to re-establish the importance of global collaboration within the auto recycling community.

The webinar featured two keynote speakers: Andreas Frössberg, CEO of Sweden’s auto recycling association – Sveriges Bilåtervinnares Riksförbund (SBR). He is also the Chairman of EGARA, the European Group of Auto Recycling associations. As well the group heard from David Giles, President of PoweredEV Training & Consulting in Canada.

The webinar kicked off with Steve introducing the IRT and setting the goals for the event. The IRT brings the peak national associations together to discuss the ever-changing world of auto recycling. Past events have been a catalyst for global recyclers to share information about emerging technical and regulatory trends and business opportunities and to showcase local and industry best practices. 

The IRT’s first virtual webinar was held in February and brought the original associations together to discuss the IRT revitalization plans. As each association discussed its challenges that the IRT could help address, the effect of electric vehicles (EVs) became an easy to identify common issue.

International Roundtable on Auto Recycling Tackles EV Recycling Challenges in Virtual Webinar AF
Andreas Frossberg

Andreas Frössberg reviewed the SBR organization and the Swedish auto recycling sector. Consolidation, advancing regulations, specialization, new OEMs, vehicle complexity are all impacting the industry, generating fewer but much larger and professional players.

With 12% of vehicles on the road electrified, Sweden is well ahead of much of the rest of the world with respect to electrification. This makes it a great example to study where the industry might be heading. And as a long, cold country, that is especially of interest to countries like Canada. 

Andreas posed an interesting question regard where we might be with EV adoption and overall understanding by comparing EVs to the music industry – “Are we in the vinyl record stage or laserdiscs or CDs or iPods or streaming?” No one knows.

SBR has been working on industry standards with other stakeholders (dismantlers, producers, trade associations, insurers, academia) on the safe handling of EVs, as they information dismantlers need is unique and goes beyond the OEM supplied information. They are also working on a major project Circ-Batt relating to the Circularity of batteries and EVs to find the right value proposition for each actor – again in collaboration as the issues transcend auto recyclers.

They are also following very closely the EU Battery and ELV Directives. Are they a hindrance or enabler of Circularity?

International Roundtable on Auto Recycling Tackles EV Recycling Challenges in Virtual Webinar DG
David Giles

David Giles followed up with many of the EV training and profitability strategies, tactics and opportunities that he has identified. Knowledge acquisition, training, collaboration are all keys to auto recyclers unlocking the potential in EVs.

David walked through the different battery chemistries and technologies as the starting point of the education for every recycler. What type of battery you have in front of you (or are bidding on at the auction) will begin to dictate some of the profitability (and cost) avenues that you can follow. But it all starts with information.

The various differences between ICE vehicles and EVs were reviewed, pointing out potential revenue changes, beyond the battery. Invertors, converters, chargers, restricted parts, and a host of electronics are all revenue enhances, but the loss of the tradition ICE drivetrain is a big worry for auto recyclers. David’s tips on Tesla’s service mode and the secret password probably paid for the webinar itself (actually the webinar was free, but it paid for your time). The free EVRescue app (and equivalent European version – EuroRESCUE) coverage was also extremely valuable.

David’s conclusions – EVs present new opportunities for auto recyclers; We can’t ignore that changes are happening now; Materials being used in motors, batteries, and components will continually become more valuable!

The webinar ended with a very spirited conversation about EVs and some hands-on knowledge that dismantlers have. That also re-enforced that there are still more questions than answers as we get deeper in to the issues. And as more and more stakeholders and governments look to auto recyclers for answers, a great opportunity opens up for the industry to be proactive and lead the discussions. Reacting after the fact to potential solutions that others develop is a recipe for disaster.

A recording of the webinar has been posted to the IRT website (www.irt-autorecycling.org/webinar), and input is being sought on the next IRT webinar, scheduled for late June.

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