The group looking into recycling New Zealand's EV batteries
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Right now, electric vehicles are arguably the most polarising aspect of New Zealand's motor industry. While some people love the idea, others pick apart the flaws until the cows come home.
One of the biggest arguments against electric vehicles is the idea that batteries are useless once they're done their time in a car, and can't be recycled in New Zealand.
One Kiwi group that's looking to offer an EV battery recycling service in New Zealand goes by the name of B.I.G or Battery Industry Group, and is made up of some of our country's heavy hitters in the electric industry.
Formed in 2018, B.I.G includes entities like the AA, Vector, Audi, the Motor Industry Association, and more.
While B.I.G's full recycling service is still in the pipeline, Kiwi already have access to end-of-life battery processing policies from automotive distributors for the EVs that they sell.
Further down the track, B.I.G is looking to introduce a proposed Product Stewardship Scheme, that should be adopted en masse by plug-in vehicles with the government's blessing.
Under the scheme, every battery that enters New Zealand in an EV will be registered, and its movement will be tracked from owner to owner using a blockchain-based 'Battery Passport'.
When it eventually reaches the end of its life, it will be sent off for recycling, and its data will be tracked by the Ministry for the Environment and customs.
“B.I.G. has developed this scheme so there’s a plan in place when more cars come into the country,” said Juhi Shareef, chair of B.I.G. “With more and more New Zealanders buying electric cars, we’re entering a transition phase and we need a solution that works for businesses, people, and the environment.
“There’s more work to be done and we'd love other organisations to join. B.I.G. is doing some pioneering work globally, and we believe that New Zealand has a real opportunity to lead in this space.”
“EV batteries still have useful capacity when they reach their end of life in a car, so there's huge scope to invest in repurposing and give them a second or even third life,” adds Jo Phillips, B.I.G. Battery Innovation Hub chair. “New Zealand has a key role to play in circular innovation for large batteries”.