A Tesla battery pack will eventually need to be replaced after a period of time. Here is what an old battery undergoes at a Tesla factory.
Like all electronic products powered by a battery, after a while, the battery of a Tesla would need to be replaced due to aging, but what happens to the old one? One of the main selling points touted by electric vehicle manufacturers is how they are better for the environment than cars with combustion engines. However, reducing waste and recycling is integral to protecting the environment.
Tesla batteries are supposed to last pretty long before needing to be replaced. According to the car manufacturer, the Model S and Model X should still retain 90 percent of their battery capacity after 200,000 miles. So, while it will take more than a decade before a battery needs to be replaced in an ideal situation, other factors can lead to requiring a replacement much earlier than expected.
According to a 2021 Tesla impact report, when its lithium-ion batteries reach their end of life, they are remanufactured or recycled. The materials that make up the battery can be refined and put into a new cell, and when that new cell reaches its end of life, it is once again recycled into a new one. However, Tesla makes it clear that recycling isn’t the first option. Instead, it tries to extend the life of a battery pack before eventually recycling it.
Remanufacturing Before Recycling
One of the ways Tesla says it tries to improve battery life is by sending out over-the-air (OTA) software updates to its vehicles to improve battery efficiency. In addition, it also services defective batteries at its service centers. Tesla says it also focuses on remanufacturing before recycling. So when a battery pack is sent to its service center, it tries to remanufacture it first, which is better from an environmental point as well as from the business angle. Remanufacturing requires little energy and may include replacing a cell so that the battery pack’s health is restored to 100 percent.
Tesla claims it has received a limited number of batteries for recycling. This is because they are made to last many years. Considering that its oldest model, which is the Model S, has only been in production for about a decade, it will be a while before it begins to receive batteries for recycling in large quantities. Nevertheless, Tesla is already making preparations for that. Previously, it solely used third-party recyclers to prevent its batteries from ending up in landfills. However, it has now built its own battery recycling facility at its Gigafactory in Nevada. This way, battery recycling is done on-site. In addition, the Gigafactory in Berlin is capable of in-house cell manufacturing. Having its own on-site recycling plants will allow Tesla to develop safe recycling practices with low environmental effects. It will also translate to savings in costs since recycling is done on a large scale.
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