EV Battery Recycling, A Key To Long-Term Sustainable E-Mobility

Priyanka Tanwer
Priyanka Tanwer Dec 08 2023 - 5 min read
EV Battery Recycling, A Key To Long-Term Sustainable E-Mobility
The process of establishing a circular economy for batteries involves importing lithium-ion cells, manufacturing battery packs, supplying them to OEMs, and eventually recycling end-of-life batteries.

As the electric vehicle market in India is rapidly growing with many companies coming up with their latest models of EV, it faces a critical need for a robust infrastructure to manage its energy demands for coming years. While there is an emphasis on expanding lithium-ion battery cell production, a key aspect that the country is yet to address comprehensively, the impending surge in electric vehicle battery waste necessitates the establishment of a strong battery recycling ecosystem.

The urgency for EV battery recycling has intensified due to various factors including the traditional mining processes for essential battery materials, such as lithium carbonate, cobalt, and nickel, are environmentally taxing, particularly in terms of carbon and water consumption.

Geopolitical Factors

Geopolitical dynamics further underscore the need for a strong recycling foundation. With more than 80 per cent of battery-grade lithium coming from China, there is a growing imperative to reduce dependence on Chinese lithium refining processes. To address this, regulators globally are formulating policies to incentivize domestic lithium production or discourage imports from China.

Several countries, including the United States and India, are recognizing the importance of legislative frameworks to encourage battery recycling. The US launched the Inflation Reduction Act, considering every battery recycled in the country as American-made, qualifying it for the same incentives as locally-made batteries. Similarly, India updated its Battery Waste Management Rules in 2022, obligating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate with government-registered recyclers and take responsibility for their battery waste under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

EV Battery Recycling 

Currently, India is at a nascent stage of battery recycling, with 70 per cent of global battery waste generated during the manufacturing stage. Attero, a commercial recycling plant, claims to be ahead in recycling various battery technologies, including EV batteries, setting it apart from competitors focusing on high cobalt and nickel content batteries.

The process of establishing a circular economy for batteries involves importing lithium-ion cells, manufacturing battery packs, supplying them to OEMs, and eventually recycling end-of-life batteries.

To make EV battery recycling profitable, extracting the highest yield of battery-grade material at the lowest cost is crucial. Attero claims to extract 95 percent pure battery-grade output from specific battery chemistries. However, challenges remain, including reaching realistic targets for recycled material use by OEMs and the need for incentives to boost recycling infrastructure.

Abhinav Kalia, CEO and Co-founder, ARC Electric has noted that battery recycling represents a crucial practice, offering a dual advantage to both the environment and the economy.

“As the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and electronic devices grows, efficient battery recycling mitigates environmental impairment. Large-scale recycling of EV batteries alleviates concerns about hazardous waste, preventing soil and water contamination while reducing the demand for new raw materials through the extraction process,” Kalia noted.

Karthikeyan A, VP, Electronics, Raptee said that the advantages of long-term battery recycling are manifold. It leads to a reduced environmental impact and lower battery costs for customers, making it a win-win situation.

Speaking to Opportunity India, he added that the world is embracing electric vehicles, and with that comes the growing importance of sustainable battery recycling. Not only does it have a positive impact on the environment, but it also ensures the future of e-mobility by securing crucial resources for the long term.

“The production of lithium-ion battery waste is increasing, and by 2030, India alone is projected to contribute a staggering three million tons. However, there are several Indian companies actively engaged in battery recycling, using innovative techniques to recycle a remarkable 95 per cent of the batteries they receive,” he said. 

He said that despite these efforts, the current recycling rate is only 5 per cent. To improve this rate, we need to focus on advancing technology and improving economic viability. By doing so, we can achieve higher rates of recovery and more competitive pricing. It is also crucial to establish a robust collection and transportation system to ensure efficient recycling practices.

The Indian government has recognized the importance of battery recycling and has taken various measures to encourage it. They have introduced the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 and offer financial incentives to recyclers. These initiatives create a favourable environment for the expansion of the recycling sector.

“As Vehicle manufacturers, or OEMs, we hold a pivotal position in shaping a circular economy for batteries. Our responsibility lies in creating vehicles that prioritize recycling, streamlining collection and logistics, investing in recycling technology, advocating for supportive regulations, educating consumers about recycling, and exploring innovative ways to repurpose used batteries,” Karthikeyan said.

He further added, “The advantages of long-term battery recycling are manifold. Firstly, it leads to a reduced environmental impact and lower battery costs for customers, making it a win-win situation. Secondly, OEMs benefit from improved resource security and an enhanced brand reputation. Additionally, battery recycling ensures increased product availability and compliance with regulations. Lastly, it opens up opportunities for innovation in battery design and manufacturing.”  

Battery recycling is not only an environmental necessity but also a strategic imperative for the long-term success of e-mobility. By actively participating in the development of efficient and sustainable recycling solutions, all stakeholders can contribute to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for electric transportation, he said.


Collaboration with other countries and a focus on production-linked incentives may further enhance the impact of battery recycling initiatives in India. Ultimately, a comprehensive and fortified recycling apparatus is indispensable for the sustainability and emission-free future of mobility driven by batteries.

Subscribe Newsletter
Submit your email address to receive the latest updates on news & host of opportunities
Entrepreneur Magazine

For hassle free instant subscription, just give your number and email id and our customer care agent will get in touch with you

or Click here to Subscribe Online

Newsletter Signup

Share your email address to get latest update from the industry