End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are the source (or the so-called “core”) for automotive recyclers engaged in resource recycling, who also produce and supply recycled parts in the interest of “reusing usable parts”. These recycled parts are used by repair and maintenance factories as well as body and paint light repair (BP) shops.
This flow is consistent with decarbonization and is important for building a recycling-oriented society. However, the repair and maintenance businesses often complained that “the hit rate for desired parts was low when searching.” The Japan ELV Recyclers Association (President: Yasuo Sakai) admitted:
“The hit rate for ordered parts was in the range of 30% to 40% so far. However, due to ELV shortages after the COVID-19 pandemic, the figure is going down further.”
To address this issue, recycling advocacy groups have made the following plea: “We need to prepare a business environment in which the repair and maintenance businesses will easily use as many recycled parts as possible.” Sato also acknowledged this request. Currently, the industry-wide transition is about to commence.
An all-Japan system connectivity among twelve recycled parts business groups will soon be realized, with an initial plan to commence within this fiscal year. An increase in the hit rate is expected. At the same time, a reduction in transport costs and carbon dioxide emissions will be achieved. Rival groups will join forces to combat this challenging business environment.
Meanwhile, issues remain in the handling of some high-tech parts and components, including bumpers equipped with sensors like an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), as well as driving batteries of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid vehicles (HEV). For sensor-equipped bumpers, repair and maintenance shops are conservative with the use of recycled parts because the functionality is not guaranteed when driving, even if they are checked by a scan tool and found to be free of any defects before being registered in the system. With regard to recycled batteries, a high demand has already been identified for nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH) for hybrid vehicles.
However, it is difficult to recycle lithium-ion batteries. Automakers are developing a plan for the secondary use of such batteries. Saitama-based U-Parts, Inc. (President: Michiyoshi Shimizu) has obtained a patent for rebuilding NiMH batteries. Shimizu said:
“Recycling of lithium-ion batteries, which are made from different materials than NiMH, is required for further high precision. Although we have been studying the lithium-ion batteries, we have no plan to supply recycled batteries as replacement parts for other cars.”
The practical application of used batteries from EVs and other electrified vehicles is still a research subject.
Source: Jara News – July 2022