The market for electric-drive vehicles (EDVs), including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and electric, pure battery-powered vehicles (EVs), is expected to experience significant and rapid growth over the coming decades. In the year 2013 all EDVs together represent about 1.44 percent of annual vehicle sales in Canada, about 0.09 percent in Mexico and about 3.81 percent in the US, and numbers are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. As the market for EDVs expands, there will be a vital opportunity to recapture and recycle the materials used in EDV batteries (nickel, cobalt, steel and other valuable components) once they reach end of life (EOL).
This report characterizes the types, quantities, and composition of batteries used in EDVs in North America, and outlines best practices and technologies to support their environmentally sound management (ESM) at end of life. It is projected that about 276,000 EDV batteries will reach EOL in North America in 2015. Most of these batteries are likely to be nickel metal hydride (NiMH), which is the predominant battery chemistry used in HEVs. By 2030, almost 1.5 million EDV batteries will reach EOL. By that time, close to half the EOL EDV batteries will be lithium-based, with the remainder being NiMH batteries.