The fate of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EVS) is an important issue for manufacturers, policymakers and EV owners to address. The economic potential for battery reuse, or “second life,” could help decrease the upfront costs of EV batteries and increase the value of a used EV. Second-life batteries could also represent a market of low-cost storage for utilities and electricity consumers. To enable widespread reuse, stakeholders must remove barriers and ensure responsible, equitable and sustainable practices. To learn more, read “The 2nd Life Of Used EV Batteries.”

Key Takeaways:

  • California is the largest market for EVs in the country. By 2027, the state will retire an estimated 45,000 EV batteries.
  • The California Lithium Battery Recycling Advisory Group aims to ensure 100% of EV batteries sold in California are reused or recycled. 
  • Why should batteries be reused? After 8 to 12 years in a vehicle, EV batteries are likely to retain more than two-thirds of their usable energy storage. 
    • Depending on their condition, used EV batteries could deliver an additional 5–8 years of service in a secondary application.
  • A key barrier for second-life EV batteries and distributed energy storage more broadly is the ability to capture these different value streams: Frequency regulation; transmission and distribution; spinning reserves; and energy arbitrage.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Although there are no uniform global or regional policies governing the reuse and recycling of EV batteries, there has been an increase in attention paid to the issue in recent years due to the rising adoption of EVs and increasing longevity of battery storage technology. Encouraging battery reuse and ensuring proper recycling are important strategies for further increasing the sustainability of EVs and meeting California’s ambitious decarbonization commitments.


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