The Shocking Truth About EV Battery Repair and Recycling: What You Need to Know?
The need to create a healthy and cyclical economy for EVs is growing as their popularity soars. However, a rising issue in the industry is highlighted in a recent article by Reuters: the failure to fix or recover EV batteries after a small accident. Problems with repairing or recycling batteries are especially acute for electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla, whose battery cells are built into the chassis.
Tesla and other EV manufacturers use solid battery packs that are intended to make manufacturing speedier and cheaper, which in turn leads to more reasonable costs for customers. A slight impact can completely destroy the battery cell, so this cost-cutting strategy has unexpected effects. Electric vehicles (EVs) have higher insurance premiums than conventional cars because their batteries can't be recycled.
In the United States, underwriters are aware that replacing the battery cell after even a small mishap can cost more than $15,000, as reported by Bankrate. A Tesla Model 3 retails for around $43,000 but rapidly loses value due to the high cost of its battery repair (up to $20k). This has led to an increase in the number of minor-accident written-off EVs by insurance firms.
Due to the severity of the issue, Tesla has begun providing auto insurance in some areas across the United areas. However, legal issues are also contributing to the larger issue. However, Tesla does not give third parties access to the diagnostic data stored in its batteries, so technicians who wish to reuse batteries from electric vehicles that have been in collisions cannot verify the battery's functionality and safety. The worry that even slightly altered or reused units will eventually cause issues has prevented insurance companies from embracing the use of recovered battery packs.
Due to the difficulty in extracting EV battery packs and the lack of surety surrounding their reuse, there is currently a glut of usable batteries sitting idle. Insurance companies believe many problems could be resolved if manufacturers installed batteries in smaller, non-structural components and made diagnostic data about those batteries accessible to third parties.
Many automakers, including Ford and GM, have stated that they are working on battery packs that are simpler to service and refurbish. However, Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers are allegedly taking the contrary approach. Expert in automotive dismantling Sandy Munro told Reuters that the battery pack in the Texas-built Tesla Model Y has "zero repairability," so even slight damage is resulting in some battery packs being sent "straight to the grinder" for these electric vehicles.