Proper disposal of the high-voltage batteries in hybrids and EVs is a huge part of the sustainability equation, and finding ways to re-use and recycle them is a great way to make sure our favorite green cars stay green. To that end, Honda is expanding its partnership with European recycling specialists SNAM, which will collect used batteries from Honda dealers in 22 countries and prepare them for a second life as electrical storage systems for homes or businesses.
“As demand for Honda’s expanding range of hybrid and electric cars continues to grow so does the requirement to manage batteries in the most environmentally-friendly way possible,” explains Tom Gardner, Senior Vice President at Honda Motor Europe. “Recent market developments may allow us to make use of these batteries in a second life application for powering businesses or by using recent improved recycling techniques to recover useful raw materials which can be used as feed stock into the production of new batteries.”
All of that is great for batteries that are still in relatively good shape, but what about damaged batteries? In that case, they’re largely unsuitable for “second life” applications, but they’re far from worthless. “Materials such as cobalt and lithium can be extracted using hydro-metallurgy techniques involving the use of aqueous chemistry,” reads Honda’s press release on the matter. “These can be reused in the production of new batteries, color pigments or as useful additives for mortar.”
That means more raw materials with less emission-heavy digging, mining, and transporting of those rare Earth minerals than there is now. Much more sustainable, in other words, than just tossing the old battery packs in a landfill.