Quebec, industry partners debut EV battery recovery program
Jul 25, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

The EV Battery Recovery program will ensure EV batteries not captured by OEMs’ existing recovery procedures won’t be lost or discarded as waste

A new industry-funded electric vehicle (EV) battery recovery program is officially in effect in Quebec.

The EV Battery Recovery program will ensure EV batteries not captured by OEMs’ existing recovery procedures won’t be lost or discarded as waste

A new industry-funded electric vehicle battery recovery program is officially in effect in Quebec.

Launched last month, the EV Battery Recovery program is a joint effort by members of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association and Global Automakers of Canada, as well as the Quebec government, to help recover electric vehicle batteries that have reached their end of life.

It stands as the “first of its kind in North America,” says the press release.

The program was developed by the industry as an alternative to a Quebec proposal in 2021 to put EV batteries under the province’s existing extended producer responsibility program (ERP), according to David Adams, president of Global Automakers of Canada.

“The targets that they set up under that program would have meant that manufacturers would have had to take perfectly good electric vehicles off the road to meet the targets for battery recovery under the extended producer responsibility guideline,” says Adams, in an interview with Electric Autonomy.

“We worked with the Quebec government at the time to suggest that there was a better way to deal with EV batteries.”

Along with ensuring eligible EV batteries don’t go to waste, the program also aims to support the development of a circular economy for EV batteries. By doing so, it aims to mitigate health and environmental risks while promoting the reuse, repurposing and recycling of batteries.

“Battery recycling is going to be a necessary component in the whole value chain,” says Adams.

“We won’t be able to mine enough emerging materials for batteries. We’re going to have to be reliant on recycled batteries to supply some of those critical materials to continue to produce batteries.”

A complement to existing programs

The majority of automakers selling EVs in Canada already have recovery and management protocols for EV batteries covered by warranty, subject to recall, or returned through their distribution channels.

What the recovery program strives to do is address batteries that remain outside the manufacturers’ awareness.

“This program is kind of meant to complement those that maybe get — for whatever reason — lost outside of the system and the manufacturer might not necessarily know where that vehicle is. [The vehicle] then ends up in a dismantler’s shop or a wrecking yard or a dealership somewhere and the person that has the vehicle in their possession is wondering what to do with the battery and how to recycle it properly,” says Adams.

The need for such programs has been identified by groups like the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). In one study, it noted that policy on battery recycling is still in “an early stage” in Canada and is predominantly being driven at the provincial level. British Columbia, for instance, has made a commitment to introduce EPR for electric vehicle batteries by 2026 through its EPR Five-Year Action Plan passed in 2021.

The study also found that more than one million electric vehicle batteries per year could reach their end of life by 2030 globally, rising to about 14 million per year by 2040, “making this a critical time to create a supportive policy environment for their reuse and recycling.”

Online platform

The EV Battery Recovery program allows vehicle dismantlers, recyclers, shredders, car dealers, independent auto repair shops, fleet operators and individual vehicle owners to participate free of charge.

The program’s launch was accompanied by the unveiling of an online platform developed by Call2Recycle Canada, a not-for-profit organization focused on end-of-life battery recycling and stewardship.

The platform provides all the information those different stakeholders need to participate. It includes criteria that enable users to identify the type and chemistry of their batteries, their eligibility for the program, as well as determine which service provider would be responsible for collecting their batteries.

The list of participants in the program includes over 30 automakers.

The program accepts batteries from hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell or battery electric vehicles. Once collected, the batteries will be remanufactured for vehicle reuse, repurposed for alternate use, recycled back to original metals for use in new products, or sent to vehicle manufacturer R&D centres for analysis.

Expanding the program

With the introduction of the EV Battery Recovery program in Quebec, the province is looking to position itself as a leader in the area.

“Part of the rationale I think from Quebec’s perspective is trying to have the whole supply chain within the province of Quebec,” says Adams, noting that the province is striving to recycle as many EV batteries as possible and support local battery recycling companies, such as Montreal-based Lithion Technologies.

And although the program is currently exclusive to Quebec, there are plans to expand it to other parts of the country.

“We’ve had some initial discussions with British Columbia,” says Adams. “I think they’re interested in the program and they seem to be quite interested in the Quebec model.”

“In an ideal world, it would be useful to try and roll this out as a national program right across the country.”

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