In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom introduced an ambitious plan to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in California by 2035 in order to address climate change. The plan was initially met with opposition, but has since gained more support and was recently approved by the state. The decision was made Aug. 25 at a meeting in Sacramento when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to formally adopt the rule.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the regulations would apply to the sales of new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, and would establish annual thresholds for the share of zero-emission vehicles auto makers must sell in the state each year, starting at 35 percent in 2026, and increasing up to 68 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035.
Lobby groups in the industry remain cautious and believe the target remains extremely difficult to achieve due to certain factors affecting the realistic speed of how quickly new car sales can go fully electric such as the build-out of EV charging networks, and availability of raw materials needed to make batteries. Experts are also concerned about the gap between future production and demand for the critical minerals needed for EV batteries, and they are not alone in concern.
The future surge of EV sales has influenced many companies to invest in recycling plants, and raised many safety concerns within the battery recycling industry. More EV sales means transporting and handling more EV batteries, which increases a number of risks. Battery stewardship Call2Recycle’s CEO, Leo Raudys explained in an interview that large-format Li-ion batteries must comply with strict handling, storage, treatment and disposal requirements, and regulations set by the US Department of Transportation. Many standards are in place to ensure that safety is not overlooked, but Raudys believes the the biggest hurdle is figuring out how to create a system of shared collections across multiple original equipment manufacturers and recyclers for both cost and environmental efficiencies.
Disposition facilities like HOBI are responsible for the proper disposition of electronic equipment, including EV batteries. Though the batteries are not yet ready to be recycled in large volumes, many in the industry are wondering what the growing demand will result in for the disposition process. According to research analysts the global EV battery recycling market was valued at $139 million in 2017, but is expected to grow to $2.27 billion by 2025.
“These are complex, intertwined and global issues well beyond the control of either CARB or the auto industry,” President of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, John Bozzella said on the subject.