Umicore set to recycle battery packs from Tesla electric sports cars
January 27, 2011
Tesla Motors recently announced that it has launched a comprehensive strategy to recycle its sports cars’ battery packs throughout Europe.
At the end of their life, Tesla will recycle battery packs at Umicore’s UHT facility in Belgium. The Brussels based materials technology company will use the expended pack material to produce an alloy that will be further refined into cobalt, nickel and other metals.
Umicore will transform the cobalt into high grade lithium cobalt oxide, which can be resold to battery manufacturers. One of the few byproducts of their environmentally friendly approach is a clean inertised slag containing calcium oxides and lithium. The slag goes into the production of special grade concretes.
“While we work to help lessen global dependence on petroleum-based transportation and drive down the cost of electric vehicles, we are also taking the lead in developing a closed loop battery recycling system,” Tesla’s Director of Energy Storage Systems Kurt Kelty stated.
The battery pack in Tesla’s Roadster contains 6,831 lithium ion cells and is currently the most energy dense pack in the industry, storing 56 kWh of energy. The cars are engineered to charge from nearly any 120-volt or 240-volt outlet and have a range of around 340 km (211 miles). The 375 volt AC induction air-cooled electric motor with variable frequency drive provides an impressive 0-60mph time of just 3.7 seconds.
Tesla has been building and selling highway-capable, fully-certified electric cars for three years, during which time the Californian based company has championed recycling and use of non-toxic materials. Tesla customers do not pay extra for recycling of the battery pack, which is expected to last 7-10 years or about 160,000 kilometres under normal use.
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