Tesla Battery Recycling Might Just Save the World

Tesla has made a huge impact on the automotive industry with its electric vehicles. The electric vehicle and clean energy company sought to find alternative energy sources to help protect our environment. It has been successful in creating vehicles that are both sustainable and appealing to consumers. Electric vehicle batteries are one solution to reducing carbon emissions, but they come with their own problems as well. Tesla’s battery recycling may save the world from another climate crisis.

Tesla battery recycling is the solution to a problem we didn’t know we had

A model of a battery pack and electric motor is displayed at a Cadillac store in Shanghai, China, on July 19, 2021.
A model of a battery pack and electric motor | Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

We have lived through some troubling times in recent years. It often seems like there are more problems than we have solutions for as a society. Carbon emissions are an issue that most countries have been forced to agree on. World leaders have had to take a stand on either side of the issue, and advanced nations have universally recognized the auto industry’s role in polluting the environment.

The solution was clear…or so we thought. Experts believed that once we found alternative sustainable fuel sources for the world’s billions of vehicles, we could drastically reduce carbon emissions. This plan is hardly close to coming to fruition, and we have already hit another roadblock. It turns out that materials used to make many electric battery modules like cobalt come from deep within the ocean.

Deep-sea mining could have many unintended consequences. As electric vehicles become more popular, materials like cobalt will be more in demand, and more deep-sea mining will occur. According to Electrek, Tesla had the foresight to develop a recycling process for these coveted batteries.

How are Tesla batteries recycled?

A battery from a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle is on show in the foyer of the Envision battery manufacturing plant at Nissan's plant in Sunderland, north east England on July 1, 2021.
Electric car battery | OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla claims that the company can recover 92% of battery cell material from batteries that have reached the end of their life cycle. The Tesla Gigafacotry 1 site in Nevada is the first location to test the company’s battery recycling system. The automaker will process used batteries and battery manufacturing scrap to extract cobalt, lithium, and other materials and metals. These materials will then be used to make new Tesla batteries.

The process may seem simple, but it is unique and revolutionary. Electric vehicle batteries are expensive throughout the automotive industry because of the scarcity of the materials they use. This battery recycling process can drive prices down as well as reduce deep-sea mining.

Can electric vehicle battery recycling save the world?

Volkswagen employees wire the battery on a line for the VW ID.3 during a press tour of Volkswagen's Transparent Factory.
Volkswagen employees wire the battery on a line for the VW ID.3 | Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Battery electric vehicles are rapidly becoming the most popular type of electric vehicle on the market. As a result, automakers will need large supplies of cobalt as well as other metals and minerals. Searching for these metals and minerals could cause major environmental issues. Tesla’s acknowledgment of the importance and scarcity of the materials that are used for battery cells is a huge step in the right direction.

Tesla’s battery recycling can demonstrate responsible electric vehicle production to the entire automotive industry. If other automakers follow suit, the industry could avoid potentially causing another climate crisis through excessive deep-sea mining. Tesla’s battery recycling proves that electric vehicles can be completely sustainable and are much greener than gas-powered vehicles over long periods of time.

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