According to the International Energy Agency 2019 Global EV Outlook report, EV sales will reach 44 million units annually by 2030. The EV battery’s life cycle has various stages: manufacturing, the use phase, re-use stage, recycling, and battery disposal.

Electric Vehicle Battery Life Cycle

  • The majority of EV batteries have a 160,000 KM drive limit or an 8-year warranty. EV manufacturers in California are required by law to extend the warranty to 10 years or 240,000 KM drive limit.
  • The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) is targeted to achieve a 15-year battery life with 1,000 cycles by the end of 2020. An EV battery with 2,000 cycles of 250 KM each means that the EV battery could go up to 500,000 KM.
  • EV batteries go through discharge cycles that occur while driving and charging cycle when the car is plugged into a charging source. Repeating the charging and discharging process impacts the amount of charge an EV battery can hold over time. An EV battery loses its capacity and degrades with the number of cycles the battery does.
  • Due to technology advances, the latest EV batteries can have longer lifespans and give more power than earlier models. The Tesla Model S 100D has a 100KWh battery, capable of doing 393 miles max. Most EV batteries are lithium-based and rely on Nickel, Cobalt, Graphite, and Manganese raw components.
  • Overheating, deep discharge, overcharging, and high discharge are factors that affect the EV’s battery lifespan. An EV battery needs to operate between 80% to 50% charge capacity, as draining the battery degrades it. EV batteries with higher capacity last longer.
  • The Nissan Leaf warranty increases from five years or 60,000 miles on the 24 KWh, to eight years or 1000,000 miles on the 30KWh battery model. During the Warranty period, Nissan offers to replace parts of the EV battery pack, causing the capacity to drop below 75%.

Maps of the EV Battery Life Cycle

Life Cycle 1

  • As illustrated in the image below, EV batteries’ life cycle consists of manufacturing, the use phase, re-use, recycling, and disposal. The image illustrates the EV battery lifecycle.
  • Scenario 1 of the EV battery life cycle depicts the battery is manufactured, used, second use in smart buildings, then it is disposed. Scenario 2 shows the battery is manufactured, used, disposed of, manufactured as a small battery, then used in smart buildings. Scenario 3 shows the battery is manufactured, used, re-used in PVs and smart buildings, then disposed.
  • The EV use phase comprises 2,500 cycles until the capacity reduces to 80%. In smart buildings, the reuse consists of extra 1,500 cycles, which result in complete degradation of the battery to 60% capacity.

Life Cycle 2

  • The EV battery life cycle consists of 7 stages; component production, cell production, module production, pack assembly, vehicle integration, usage, reuse, and recycling.
  • Component production involves manufacturing the cathode and anode active materials, electrolytes, binders, and separators. Cell production involves producing and assembling single cells, while module production comprises cells’ configuration into the modules.
  • Pack assembly is the integration of modules with systems that manage charging, power, and temperature. Vehicle integration involves the integration of the EV battery with the vehicle. The battery is then used on the electric vehicles, reused and recycled. The battery is deconstructed, cleaned, and the components recycled.

Life Cycle 3

Another EV battery life cycle comprises material extraction, fabrication, 1st use, remanufacture, 2nd use, then recycle, as shown in the image below. EV battery life cycle.

Standards and Regulations Supporting the Handling and Treatment of EV Batteries

  • The Call2Recycle regulation, first implemented in North America, aids battery manufacturers fulfill recycling requirements in the United States. Call2Recycle works in partnership with the Rechargeable Battery Act (The Battery Act) and the Mercury-Containing regulation to ensure compliance and safety.
  • The United States Universal Waste Rule prevents end-users from disposing degraded EV batteries and encourages that all batteries must be recycled. Under the California laws, all batteries were tested and found to be hazardous as they exhibited high levels of copper, cobalt, and nickel.
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the transportation, storage, treatment, generation, and disposal of hazardous solid wastes.
  • According to the EPA, over 350 million EV batteries are bought annually.
  • The European Parliament Article 23 of Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries accumulators and waste batteries is one regulation by the EU to treat and handle EV batteries. The regulation tasks the commission in charge to review the “implementation of the directive” and environmental impact.
  • According to the Directive 2006/66/EC, the commission evaluates; the appropriateness of risk mitigation measures for EV batteries that contain heavy metals, the potential introduction of targets, and the “recycling efficiency levels.” This regulation looks to reduce the negative effects of EV batteries and waste on the environment.
  • The Directive 2006/66/EC prohibits the manufacturing of batteries that harbor hazardous components and to implement schemes that aim in the collection and recycling of used EV batteries. The directive manages producers, distributors, and end-users of EV batteries.

Useful Insights

  • IoT and blockchain technologies allow tracking and tracing the EV batteries. The EV batteries need to be sourced, manufactured, and recycled responsibly, according to Leanne Kemp, the CEO of Everledger.
  • The United States Department of Energy, in 2019, gave funding to the Ford Motor Company and Everledger for the EV battery pilot program that uses blockchain and IoT to track the life cycles of EV batteries. The program is intended to produce “critical life cycle data” for stakeholders and ensure responsible EV battery recovery and optimal management at the end of the life cycle.
  • To fulfill the “Paris Agreement,” the EV battery technology could help the energy and transport sectors reduce emissions by 30% by 2030. The World Economic Forum, through EV batteries manufacturing, targets to create 10 million jobs, provide electricity to 600 million people, and add $150 billion to the global economy.
  • Study shows that EV batteries usually still have around 70% to 80% of their capacity by the end of their relevant life in vehicles, in ten years, and can be recycled/repurposed to extend life for another ten years to fifteen years.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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