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Tesla Starts Battery Recycling And Swap Program

Torque News has a new information about what Tesla plans on doing when its batteries reach end of life including recycling and battery switchouts.

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Currently, Tesla Vehicles are rather young, the oldest vehicles the company has produced are only about a decade old, these being the original Tesla Roadster and 2012 Tesla Model S. Now that some of the vehicles are approaching the end of their useful life due to batteries losing efficiency over time, the Californian car company has been shifting its attention to the recycling of its battery packs.

Recycling is nothing new to Tesla
In the impact report released last year, Tesla made some comments about their plans for disposing of batteries in a more eco-friendly manner:

“At Gigafactory 1, Tesla is developing a unique battery recycling system that will process both battery manufacturing scrap and end-of-life batteries. Through this system, the recovery of critical minerals such as lithium and cobalt will be maximized along with the recovery of all metals used in the battery cell, such as copper, aluminum and steel. All of these materials will be recovered in forms optimized for new battery material production.”

New Battery Recycling And Battery Swap
It is unclear how far exactly Tesla has come along with this hinted process, but it was revealed today that Tesla has started recycling batteries in China. A few days ago, Tesla China's official website showed information about the battery recycling program. It describes that the materials used in Tesla lithium-ion batteries can be recycled, in addition to making the most of battery life and avoiding environmental pollution. Tesla owners who participate in battery recycling can also replace new batteries at Tesla service centers to return the vehicle to a new state, Elon Musk had already hinted at this battery swap out system. It is said that Tesla will recycle 100% of its batteries, and be able to either reuse or sell the materials for quite a good price since demand is higher than ever.

A white Tesla Model Y on the roads

The Model Y is also an upcoming product of Giga Shanghai

Recycling in China

China is the biggest lithium-ion battery recycler in the world, recycling around 70% of the batteries available for reprocessing.

With Giga Shanghai phase two so close to completion we could eventually see a big part of the battery processing plant being installed there.

Recycling is a major step towards sustainability for Tesla, within the coming decade EV adoption will become more and more common, requiring adequate recycling facilities to process the demand for this service. This will help to reduce pollution throughout the world and enable EV companies to reuse the materials that had previously lost their capabilities.We may also hear more info about what Tesla has in mind for recycling at the September battery day event.

Where else do you think battery recycling plants for Tesla could be built? Will there be one in each upcoming Gigafactory or will recycling mainly happen in China since that is where most of the expert companies are based? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Here is the source of this article, thank you to @Ray4Tesla for helping us find this.

Also see how CATL's battery issues pressure Tesla ahead of the Battery Day event.

Guillaume Humbert a Torque News automotive journalist covering Tesla news. "The way he first heard about Tesla was when he accidentally found a livestream of one of Tesla's cars back in 2018. It may sound boring, except this car was cruising in space. Since then Humbert has been following the EV automaker closely. Any of Tesla's innovations make the future look environmentally more friendly. "I am now trying to share the hope Tesla spread and inspire others through my articles," says Humbert whom you can follow on Twitter at Thinking Enthusiast.

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StephanATL (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 9:35AM

So how much does the battery swap cost? 5, 10, 15k? Teslas are quickly going to become impossible to resell. Why would I buy a used Tesla if It’s soon going to cost me thousands or more in new batteries?

Haggy (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 12:01PM

In reply to by StephanATL (not verified)

You wouldn't. But you wouldn't need a new battery for a 2012 Tesla, that might have lost 2% of its range. Even at the high end, if it lost 10%, you'd have 238 miles of range left, which is far more than people need for commuting, and wouldn't add any stops to a 400 mile road trip compared to a new battery.

Ivan Bracic (not verified)    September 9, 2020 - 6:21PM

In reply to by Haggy (not verified)

Haggy, I have a 2014 P85D with Ludicrous. I rarely charge over 80% and have 108K miles on the car.
It has been a great experience and yet I recently noted that the car will not charge above 212 mi. at 100%. (I normally charge at home and work with a 100 amp HPWC).
The battery degradation occurred after it sat for a 10 days with only 35 mi of range. I left town and forgot to connect the charger. It trickled down to 12 mi of range before I returned to town and connected the HPWC. I know it was an error and am afraid it will never regain it's capacity to charge to a higher level. Any suggestions?

Sean Glaze (not verified)    January 31, 2021 - 2:20AM

In reply to by Haggy (not verified)

A new 85 kw pack costs $25k today (new $16k refurbished) I was just quoted as my car is 35 days past the 8 year warranty and it went from 220 mile charge to 30 miles over night. The didn’t tell me exactly why however with some research I have found that the entire battery will only charge as much as the lowest module (there are 16 modules in my pack) so if 1 dies or only takes a little charge the entire battery is basically dead. Please stop spreading the lie that batteries just slowly die to 0 because it’s not true and now I am stuck with a car that is basically worthless or paying $16k or $25k.

Jessie U Ramirez (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 12:27PM

In reply to by StephanATL (not verified)

After a regular ICE car gets around the same age you either sell the car, which is what most people do, or swap out the engine. For argument's sake, a cheapo swap, engine and labor would be less than 5k. We're talking Dodge Neon territory if your really want to do that. 10 yr old Teslas are in decent shape, and worth the swap. Way cheaper than buying a brand new car. Duh!

Haggy (not verified)    September 8, 2020 - 11:58AM

While the news of the recycling program may be true, the notion that 2012 batteries are reaching their end of life is far from true. Some owners are reporting 2% loss, while others are reporting as high as 10%, but regardless, Tesla was putting in 265 mile batteries back then, when other manufacturers were putting in 60 mile batteries years later.

A 20% drop in range of a 60 mile battery means end of useful life. 238 miles of remaining range means that there's no difference in daily use for people who charge at home, and drive the average of 32 miles per day of non-road trip miles. A 400 mile road trip would likely need the same number of charging stops as when the car was new. If one of the stops takes 20 minutes longer than it used to, people who own nine year old cars aren't going to spend $10,000 to save 40 minutes per year on their annual family trip to Disneyland. If your time is worth $15,000 per hour, you can get any car you want.

Carl Van Heuvel (not verified)    January 20, 2021 - 6:22PM

Can people tour the battery recycling facility in China? if I'm going to rely on one of the biggest promoters of green energy when they recycle their batteries in the most "un green" countries, I'd like to confirm it is legit and not just being hidden from the public before I consider it a legitimate purchase. Also can anyone share where Tesla purchases the cobalt for their lithium batteries, I'm against child labour (African mines) "blood cobalt"