Battery recovery wall in China, which is promoting the spread of EVs

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more widespread in China, with the rise of several domestic EV manufacturers, as well as local governments such as Shenzhen, which have replaced commercial vehicles such as buses and taxis with EVs. It has been several years since EVs began to spread, but lithium batteries that have been used for several years will need to be recycled at the time of replacement. Moreover, the amount of battery waste is increasing year by year. According to the survey data, the total amount of lithium batteries discarded is expected to reach 420,000 tons by 2020. Of this, lithium batteries for EVs account for 210,000 tons. The Chinese government also predicts such a situation, and in 2015, “Industry standard conditions for comprehensive use of waste batteries for EVs (new energy vehicle abolition old power storage battery integrated use business standard conditions)” “EV Power Battery Recycling Technology Policy (Electric Vehicle Power Storage Battery Recovery and Utilization Technology Policy) ”,“ Extended Producer Liability System Implementation Plan (Producer Liability Extension System Promotion Plan) ”in 2016,“ EV Battery Temporary Measures for Recovery and Usage Management (Temporary Method for Recovery and Usage Management of New Energy Vehicle Power Storage Batteries) ” (Temporary rules for retroactive source management) ”has been announced, and countermeasures are being steadily taken. However, various media have argued that neither standardization of battery standards nor technical standards for recycling have been established, and it is still necessary to create rules. In the recycling industry, GEM, a company specializing in recycling, has partnered with companies in China and abroad, has collection bases throughout China, and is a Chinese battery maker for the future huge market. In the Ningde era, Nanto power sources, battery material manufacturers, etc. have each set up recycling companies. Automobile companies and authorized dealers also carry out recycling operations. Even if legislation and rule-making are made, it is common in China that there are companies that go through the network and commit fraud. Many non-genuine recyclers have already been confirmed to collect various batteries such as lithium batteries, which are expensive to purchase. After all, China can utilize low-income delivery staff because of the large gap between rich and poor. There have been many non-regular recyclers who use cheaper labor than regular recyclers to collect batteries and manually disassemble them to collect the necessary metals. In addition, some have gained financial resources in the battery recovery process and are expanding the non-regular battery recovery business on a larger scale. Not long ago, Mr. Wang of Beijing, also known as the “Battery King,” who was arrested in 2018, originally bought and sold used batteries, but later launched a car battery recycling company. Collect used batteries at a much higher price than normal and store them temporarily in our own warehouse in Beijing. Then, when it has accumulated to some extent, it is transported by truck to its own treatment plant in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north. Carefully act to see if the transport truck has been witnessed or tracked, and bring it to a treatment plant in the grassland for disassembly work. Although Mr. Wang was not qualified for the recycling business, he took over used batteries for automobiles and smelted lead at his own factory. However, the facility was not environmentally friendly, and a large amount of heavy metals flowed into the grasslands, polluting the soil. This “battery king case” is the best, but if you look at non-genuine battery recovery, you can see that this kind of story has occurred all over China to this day. The rise of small and medium-sized non-regular workers is in various industries in China. On the other hand, as the background of the fact that regular battery recycling is not so advanced at present, there are problems such as “not profitable”, “insufficient government subsidy”, and “capital investment will be expensive if you try to recover properly”. Since there are illegal collection companies in all product genres, not limited to batteries, it is unlikely that illegal battery companies can be eradicated in the future. With the spread of EVs, the amount of batteries that need to be collected is increasing year by year. In China, where the gap between rich and poor is wide, non-regular recyclers collect and disassemble batteries with cheap human resources, polluting the environment. It will be interesting to see what kind of steps China will take to overcome this situation. Takeshi Yamaya Freelance writer Since 2002, he has been based in Kunming, Yunnan, China. He has written IT and consumption trends in China, India, and ASEAN in IT media, economic media, and trend magazines. He also appears in the media and gives lectures. His books include “Chinese Net Trends 2014, which Japanese people don’t know” and “Young people united on the new Chinese net”.