They will be given a second life.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are far more fuel-efficient than their gas-only counterparts, which is beneficial to the environment from a daily emissions and air quality perspective. That said, there currently are tradeoffs. The batteries in these vehicles do not last forever and are difficult to dispose of. As a result, many automakers have experimented with methods of repurposing car batteries for life beyond their intended function. Honda once had the brilliant idea of using old car batteries to store energy for the grid to be used during peak hours. Toyota had a similar idea with Prius batteries, but now Honda will pursue it even further.
Honda Motor Europe is expanding its partnership with SNAM (Societe Nouvelle d'Affinage des Metaux) to recycle end-of-life batteries from hybrids and electric vehicles in Europe. This initiative will include the recently-introduced Honda CR-V Hybrid and the Europe-only Honda e electric model among others.
Honda has been working with SNAM since 2013 to dispose of batteries in compliance with European Union environmental standards. The two companies will collect Lithium-ion and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) from Honda's dealer network and Authorised Treatment Facilities in 22 countries and analyze them to see how they could be recycled.
"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," said 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 recently improved recycling techniques to recover useful raw materials which can be used as a feedstock into the production of new batteries."
If the batteries are damaged or unsuitable 'second life' applications, the cobalt and lithium can be extracted from them to be reused in new batteries, color pigments, or additives for mortar. Dealers can also request to have these batteries picked up using SNAM's dedicated online platform. The program is specifically for Europe right now but we could envision a similar program working in the US.