Author Topic: Automakers Need to Start Worrying About the Batteries Lurking in Older EVs  (Read 330 times)

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Online PeteS in CA

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Automakers Need to Start Worrying About the Batteries Lurking in Older EVs

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A number of electric vehicles in the United States are about to celebrate their 10th birthday. A bunch of them are Nissan Leafs, the first mainstream BEV made widely available in the U.S. market. At the same time, customers have begun complaining about diminished range, with some asking for a battery refurbishment program like the one enjoyed by customers living in Japan.

So far, the best they’ve received is a confident “maybe” from the manufacturer. It might behoove them to expedite things and pull the trigger. Automakers are running behind in terms of establishing a global solution to aging EV batteries, and they’re risking a lot by not already having one in place.

For many consumers, swapping an old battery pack with new one is prohibitively expensive. Replacing the comparatively small units found in a hybrid vehicle can cost anywhere between $2,000 to over $7,000. However, the worst you’ll have to endure on a hybrid up until that point is a slew of warning notifications stating your battery is dying until the car finally fails to start. ...

Purely electric vehicles are different. Range will gradually become an issue, worsening every year until the car becomes unusable for anything other than a trip around the block. As if that weren’t enough, their larger batteries cost quite a bit more.
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While Nissan said it was considering extending the program to North America when it launched in Japan last year, potentially opening the door for kWh upgrades, nothing has been confirmed. It might not even make sense for Nissan to expand the program in its current penny-pinching state. But it would instill a warm, safe feeling inside its customer base.

In Japan the Leaf battery refurbishment costs around $3,000 and units come via a new battery recycling plant inside the country. That’s not cheap, but it’s better than the alternative.

“A refurb program is needed to help owners who were affected by Gen 1 vehicles,” Kan-ade said. “I believe that these early battery failures are part of a learning curve that was passed on to the consumer. Nissan offered a battery replacement program for $5,500, but unfortunately they quietly raised the price to $8,500.”

Despite Nissan being among the first automakers to confront these issues, it is not the only one that has to confront them. Other automakers are facing similar problems stemming from hybrid cars, and we’re just a few years away from a glut of all-electric Teslas coping with an identical plight — followed swiftly by every other automaker that decided to build BEVs at scale.

Among the biggest concerns is resale value. With no refurb solution, owners will essentially be forced to throw a car onto the secondhand market needing thousands in repairs. Sure, they could foot the bill themselves, but why bother replacing the most expensive component in your vehicle just to sell it? Likewise, why would the average used-car buyer choose to spend the cash when they’re already in search of a bargain? Wouldn’t it make more sense to go the internal combustion route or simply splurge on a new EV with superior range?

[Sarcasm] Geeeeee ... who could have foreseen this?! [/Sarcasm] An utterly predictable repair so massively expensive it almost forces ~10YO cars into the junkyard. This is just some of the kind of stupid that gets committed when government subsidizes economically non-viable hype-products into mass production.

But let me check off the models named: "Leaf", check; "Tesla", check; hmmm, hmmmmmm, something seems missing, some clunky-but-hyped POS whose name starts with "V".

Online rustynail

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The democrats will fix this when they get power again.

Offline Smokin Joe

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I hope their batteries go dead (the Dems).

I can get a 5.7l crate engine for most of my fleet for under 2K, and that's another 100K if they did a decent build.

EVs don't make sense for me, never did.
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Offline Elderberry

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I have 270K currently on my 5.7L and its still gettin on gettin on.
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Offline IsailedawayfromFR

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So basically, the lifespan of an electric car is the same as the battery in it. Maybe 10 years.
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Online Cyber Liberty

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How is this a problem for automakers?  Appears to be more of a problem for owners who are past the expiration of their warranties.  Ford doesn't give two shits for the state of the battery in my 2009 hybrid, if I have to replace it it's my $10K bill to pay, not theirs.
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Online Bigun

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How is this a problem for automakers?  Appears to be more of a problem for owners who are past the expiration of their warranties.  Ford doesn't give two shits for the state of the battery in my 2009 hybrid, if I have to replace it it's my $10K bill to pay, not theirs.

How will all of those cast off EVs be disposed of?  Asking for a friend.

Online Cyber Liberty

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How will all of those cast off EVs be disposed of?  Asking for a friend.

Not an idle question for me, @Bigun.
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Online Bigun

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Not an idle question for me, @Bigun.

Never intended for it to be an idle question @Cyber Liberty.  Serious as a heart attack.

Online PeteS in CA

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So basically, the lifespan of an electric car is the same as the battery in it. Maybe 10 years.

Yep, Ten and Toss.

How will all of those cast off EVs be disposed of?  Asking for a friend.

The ordinary stuff - steel, aluminum, plastics - the same way as with normal cars. But the batteries ... lead-acid batteries are easily recycled, but those very large lithium batteries, much less so ... and they will be horrific fire hazards while stored and during at least part of whatever the process is. Also, IIRC, there are some exotic metals in the electric motors that may present a challenge.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 01:08:47 PM by PeteS in CA »

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Yep, Ten and Toss.

The ordinary stuff - steel, aluminum, plastics - the same way as with normal cars. But the batteries ... lead-acid batteries are easily recycled, but those very large lithium batteries, much less so ... and they will be horrific fire hazards while stored and during at least part of whatever the process is. Also, IIRC, there are some exotic metals in the electric motors that may present a challenge.

Which is why, sooner or later, take-back laws for these batteries will be enacted similar to the laws about 25 states have for electronic products.

It could also come back to bite the manufacturers through product liability suits, which might be premised on the theory that, without a take-back, the batteries are unreasonably dangerous when the cars are scrapped.  A couple of multimillion dollar suits, and the manufacturers will make battery return mandatory. 

Online Cyber Liberty

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Yep, Ten and Toss.

The ordinary stuff - steel, aluminum, plastics - the same way as with normal cars. But the batteries ... lead-acid batteries are easily recycled, but those very large lithium batteries, much less so ... and they will be horrific fire hazards while stored and during at least part of whatever the process is. Also, IIRC, there are some exotic metals in the electric motors that may present a challenge.

Correct concerns on both accounts, @PeteS in CA!  Maybe they thought they could just ship them to some turd world shithole to be "recycled."  Like China or The Philippines.
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Online dfwgator

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How is this a problem for automakers?  Appears to be more of a problem for owners who are past the expiration of their warranties.  Ford doesn't give two shits for the state of the battery in my 2009 hybrid, if I have to replace it it's my $10K bill to pay, not theirs.

I think I just detected a drop in the amount of smug in the air.

Offline Smokin Joe

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How will all of those cast off EVs be disposed of?  Asking for a friend.
Well, if those aren't lead acid batteries, we can't melt 'em down for bullet lead... :whistle: :shrug:
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Online Bigun

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How is this a problem for automakers?  Appears to be more of a problem for owners who are past the expiration of their warranties.  Ford doesn't give two shits for the state of the battery in my 2009 hybrid, if I have to replace it it's my $10K bill to pay, not theirs.

And they know damned well that you won't replace that battery pack because by 2019 the entire vehicle won't be worth $10K even with a new battery pack.  Planned obsolescence at it's finest!

Online Cyber Liberty

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And they know damned well that you won't replace that battery pack because by 2019 the entire vehicle won't be worth $10K even with a new battery pack.  Planned obsolescence at it's finest!

I have no idea what my 2009 is worth.  it has <35K miles on it.   :shrug:

I only know what it's worth to me:  Not having to buy a 2020 car to replace it.
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Online Bigun

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I have no idea what my 2009 is worth.  it has <35K miles on it.   :shrug:

I only know what it's worth to me:  Not having to buy a 2020 car to replace it.

What will it be worth to you with a bad battery pack and no warranty? 

Online Cyber Liberty

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What will it be worth to you with a bad battery pack and no warranty?

If I add the $10K for a new battery, it's probably still worth fixing rather than buying another at >$35K.   :shrug:

The car is in otherwise excellent condition.  And the battery is not showing a need for imminent replacement today. 
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Online Bigun

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If I add the $10K for a new battery, it's probably still worth fixing rather than buying another at >$35K.   :shrug:

The car is in otherwise excellent condition.  And the battery is not showing a need for imminent replacement today.


888high58888 IMHO you are lucky.  Most won't be.

Online catfish1957

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I have 270K currently on my 5.7L and its still gettin on gettin on.

I've known 6 people who have had a EV/hybrid.  5 of them said "never again"
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Offline Smokin Joe

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I've known 6 people who have had a EV/hybrid.  5 of them said "never again"
I never considered one here. Thirty below is hell on batteries of any kind, and having to run the heater and make it go wouldn't even get to the next major town.. My gasoline engines don't like it, but with synthetic oil in the crankcase and keeping them plugged in when it's below zero, they have started reliably and can get me to that next town and back on a tank of gas with some to spare (260 mile r/t).
How God must weep at humans' folly! Stand fast! God knows what he is doing!
Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression


There are no "Socialists", no "Progressives", only Communists, with every negative image that totalitarianism might muster, demanding fealty and conformity to their views, with a legacy of 150,000,000 dead and counting.

Online Cyber Liberty

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I've known 6 people who have had a EV/hybrid.  5 of them said "never again"

Correction:  You know 7 people, and 6 say "never again."
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Offline thackney

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Yep, Ten and Toss.

The ordinary stuff - steel, aluminum, plastics - the same way as with normal cars. But the batteries ... lead-acid batteries are easily recycled, but those very large lithium batteries, much less so ... and they will be horrific fire hazards while stored and during at least part of whatever the process is. Also, IIRC, there are some exotic metals in the electric motors that may present a challenge.

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https://www.globaltechenvironmental.com/recycling-services/battery-recycling/recycling-car-battery-for-money-recycle-car-batteries-for-cash/

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In order to take advantage of the rise in demand -- and the related increase in value -- of the materials found in lithium-ion batteries, companies that accept them need to partner with an innovative thought leader in the industry. At GlobalTech Environmental, we forge relationships with the top refineries around the world to secure the highest payout for our customers. We provide detailed instructions concerning the correct storage, packaging and shipping to meet the regulations that govern this type of battery. GlobalTech Environmental is also able to pick up your batteries from anywhere across the United States at a time that's most convenient for you.

Partner with GlobalTech Environmental and recycle car batteries for cash. It puts money back into your business while keeping these valuable resources out of landfills.
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Offline thackney

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Correction:  You know 7 people, and 6 say "never again."

What model do you own?  If you want to share.
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Online Cyber Liberty

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What model do you own?  If you want to share.

Ford Escape, 2009.

ETA:  Mrs. Liberty and I debated taking the car with us when we moved earlier this year, and we decided to bring it to the Castle (towed behind a U-haul).
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 02:45:00 PM by Cyber Liberty »
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