Hybrid Battery Recycling: A Brief Guide
Even as gas prices have managed to eek downward, consumers in the U.S. have been continuing the shift to hybrid and electric vehicles. This is especially true given the introduction to the market of more affordable hybrid options like the Priuc C. Automakers and consumers alike are also keeping an eye on another part of the hybrid market: Recycling hybrid batteries for tose that are finally starting to get used up.
No matter how well made the battery is (And I still see a good number of older Priuses on the road), eventually they will need to be replaced. The largest volume of batteries has yet to hit the recycling plant, according to Edmunds.com.
"There are signs that the batteries in the very earliest Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrids are starting to go, but those cars were sold in relatively small numbers," says Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O'Dell. "Just 19,000 Insights and 33,000 Prius models were sold in the U.S. through the 2003 model year. That's not yet enough to feed a commercial recycling industry."
This means that when the time comes, recycling markets will need to begin adjusting to the hybrid battery market. Firms like Umicore and Toxco are already testing and developing processes to recycle hybrid batteries, an important step before the tsunami of used batteries comes to them. This is vital to the consumer as well, as it means they'll be able to take their faltering Toyota Prius battery to the dealer and get a replacement for much cheaper.