Propulsion Québec smart and electric vehicle cluster in Canada released a brand new study entitled Extended Producer Responsibility for Electric Vehicle Lithium-Ion Batteries in Québec.
In order to provide a framework for end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) battery management and curtail environmental risks, Propulsion Québec commissioned consulting firm EY to analyse the feasibility of implementing an extended producer responsibility (EPR) mechanism in Québec.
The study identifies the main hurdles and advantages of implementing EPR in Québec. It provides:
- An overview of existing collection mechanisms for EV batteries and the insight Québec can gain from EPR mechanisms here and abroad
- A review of the legal framework governing vehicles and EV batteries and the collection and transportation of lithium-ion batteries in North America
- The advantages and opportunities created by EPR and specifics on how it could work in Québec
- Challenges and best practices for EPR end-of-life lithium-ion battery management in the transportation industry in Quebec and neighbouring markets
EPR – a management solution for recycling end-of-life batteries
The study indicates that EPR is already in use in Québec for other products and could work for EV batteries, provided the mechanism is sufficiently flexible. The current legal framework in North America does not a challenge for implementing EPR as a mechanism for recycling lithium-ion batteries. In fact, it would complement other regulations, including those governing recycling of end-of-life vehicles, cells, and batteries and transportation of hazardous materials. EPR would address challenges faced by key market players, especially in terms of ensuring safe and environmentally friendly end-of-life battery management.
EPR is already in place for EV batteries in Europe and Québec has an opportunity to lead the way in North America. Deploying EPR for EV batteries would consolidate Québec’s extensive expertise in transportation electrification and position the province as a leader in North America.
According to the study’s initial financial estimates, the costs of EPR would not put the brakes on the EV market. Contrary to popular belief, EPR is not the source of the recycling costs that are inherent in a battery’s life cycle.
Analysis of regulations, issues raised by stakeholders, private and public practices in other jurisdictions, and the scenario under consideration shows that EPR would meet current and future challenges. The study identifies key factors that would ensure the success of EPR for EV batteries in Québec.
Sarah Houde, of Propulsion Québec said:
“Estimates indicate that 70% of vehicles in North America will be electric by 2050. That’s going to have a major impact on the value chain in the transportation electrification industry, including for EV battery management. In our view, Québec has the leadership needed to plan the collection and management of end-of-life EV batteries and EPR has emerged as a viable solution for current and future challenges. Now is the time to start developing concrete solutions for end-of-life EV battery management. This study identifies the key issues at play and outlines potential deployment scenarios based on input from key market players in the research and analysis phase.”
Mr Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region said:
“The Québec Government is proud to support Propulsion Québec. This study enables identifying solutions and proposes actions to responsibly manage end-of-life electric vehicle batteries. Its findings and conclusions are interesting. It is essential to examine now, in collaboration with various partners, what options we are facing. The Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals includes conducting this discussion.”
Mr Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation said:
“With the battery sector, we aim at developing a real circular economy model. From the sustainable extraction of minerals to battery recycling, we want to use cutting edge technologies to develop a sustainable electric mobility industry, with the lowest carbon footprint.”
Propulsion Québec’s recommendations
Should the Québec government move forward with regulatory changes to end-of-life EV battery management, the study suggests the following:
- Consult relevant stakeholders to establish the main parameters for EPR, including realistic targets, the dynamics in different markets, and intellectual property protection issues.
- Distinguish between the various types and chemical compositions of end-of-life batteries as these may affect EPR parameters and collection and processing logistics.
- Gradually implement EPR within a realistic timeframe and harmonize it as much as possible with other jurisdictions in North America that are considering similar mechanisms. Québec is well-positioned to become a North American leader and has the potential to exert a positive influence on other jurisdictions. In order to do so, it will need to leverage existing consultation mechanisms, especially in northeastern North America.
- Establish a flexible regulatory framework that can be reviewed periodically to ensure it’s in step with the availability of end-of-life EV batteries and the technical and financial viability of automakers and recyclers.
- Carry out a rigorous, in-depth quantitative analysis to better estimate EPR costs and their effects on transportation electrification, since the quantitative analysis carried out by EY must be interpreted with caution due to a lack of reliable data for Québec and the use of assumptions based on the European market.
This study received financial support from Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements Climatiques, RECYC-QUÉBEC, Call2Recycle Canada, the Association of Auto Parts Recyclers, Hydro-Québec, Lithion Recycling, Nemaska Lithium, Nouveau Monde Graphite, and Mason Graphite.
For more information on EPR for end-of-life lithium-ion battery management :
Position Statement – Using extended producer responsibility to manage end-of-life EV batteries March 2020
About Propulsion Québec
Québec’s smart and electric transportation cluster rallies the entire sector around joint projects aimed at positioning Québec as a leader in developing and implementing land transportation systems that promote smart and electric transportation. Created in 2017, Propulsion Québec has over 180 members from a variety of sectors and deploys its resources across seven distinct working groups to develop and support innovative projects. The cluster receives financial support from the Government of Québec, the Government of Canada, Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), Québecor and ATTRIX.
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