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August 04, 2016

Ownership and Liability

Welcome back all!


This month the discussion will be around the topic of traction battery ownership and liability. This is an important topic when considering implementing circular economy principles such as remanufacturing.

Reverse logisitics

If we consider the reverse logistics return channels (illustrated in the above figure) for and EV to the Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), the owner of the battery can change as it moves through the reverse channels. The producer responsibility as set out below does not change. The changing of ownership throughout the battery’s life could make tracking the producer down more challenging if labels are damaged, lost or changed and battery itself also changed in some way.


Producer Responsibility


Under the definitions in various pieces of European and UK legislation such as the Batteries Directive, the batteries in electric vehicles are classified as Industrial Batteries. The EU’s Directive 2006/66/EC [dated 6th September 2006] on Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators set out the initial set of regulations for batteries. The Batteries legislation aims to make producers responsible for the costs of dealing with their batteries.
Thus it is important to understand who is the owner and who is the producer of the battery at the point were the End-of-Life decision is made as the owner have the right to send an EV traction battery for recycling without incurring any cost and the producer who is defined as the person that “puts the battery on the market for the first time” will be responsible for the cost of the battery. It is also important to understand who the owner is in the reverse logistics supply chain to be able to gauge if any more value can be extracted from the battery. An example of this could be: If a battery reaches End-of-Life and it was leased the ownership falls to the producer of the battery, in this case the vehicle manufacturer, who could then make a decision to remanufacture the battery to capture value and avoid recycling cost. If the End-of-Life battery is under the ownership of the current vehicle owner they could sell it to a 3rd party remanufacturer, which could replace all the cells with a different chemistry and sell it on. In this case, the producer responsibility still falls to the vehicle manufacturer and they might have to deal with a battery at the end of the battery’s second life that contains cells with a unknown chemistry making recycling more risky and costly.
Thus considering who is liable and who owns it in the reverse logistics supply chain of End-of-Life EV traction batteries is important and needs careful consideration.

Until next time!

The ABACUS Team.


July 01, 2016

Battery Safety

Welcome back to the ABACUS Blog for the monthly update. In the month of July the topic of Safety for Lithium-ion batteries will be discussed.

In the forward and reverse logistics chain of a Lithium-ion battery, storing and handling the battery safely is of vital importance. Some of the pre-failure processes that needs to be managed and minimised through proper storage and handling in the supply chain are:

  • Cells being operated or stored in extreme temperatures (high temperature leading to modification of surface films on the electrodes, low temperature leading to the breakdown of adhesives causing anode to pull away from current collector)
  • Cell damage and defects that can cause internal short circuits leading to localised heating spots
  • High charge/discharge current during state-of-charge adjustment (Wheat=I2 * Zint)
  • Improper connections causing high resistance
  • Mechanical damage (Crash, Vibration, Mishandling)


In terms of safety for the people involved in the reverse logistics supply chain there are two scenarios to consider namely safety to prevent an event and safety to handle an event that occurred.

For safety to prevent an event there are three things that I want to highlight:

1. In the UK the Heatlh and Safety Executive (HSE) under the Health and Safety in the workplace act of 1974 created a guide for handling batteries safely. Also, for High Voltage (HV) batteries with DC voltages greater than 50V it is important to be certified to work with HV equipment and HV training is essential for making a traction Lithium-ion battery safe.

2. Safe packaging requirements for transportation is covered under the ADR regulations in the EU but no proper international standards or guides exist for proper storage for Lithium-ion batteries that I am aware of.

3. Appropriate State-of-Charge (SoC) of the cell when put into storage needs to be considered. Some of the factors to consider when adjusting a cell's state-of-charge for storage are the following:

  • How long can the cells be stored for? (shelf life) - the cell's self-discharge rate and storage temperature needs to be considered carefully to ensure cell do not reach a SoC level that is two low and can damage the cell. Higher temperatures will cause the self-discharge rate to increase.
  • Transport requirements: For example from 1 April 2016 all Lithium-ion battery packs shipped by air under IATA package instruction 965 must be at no more than 30% state of charge due to the possibility of cells or batteries in a higher state of charge could reach more violently if damaged or abused.


For safety to handle an event the following is worth noting:

  • There are first responder guides available for various vehicle brands at http://www.evsafetytraining.+org/resources.aspx. The issues with the guides are that the responders are guided to cut the 12V line and from a testing point of view and ADR transport regulation point of view this makes verifying the status of the battery more difficult.
  • Procedures to make batteries safe after venting or fire such as to put it in a salt water bath to discharge the battery because damaged packs need to be rendered safe before transportation. This destructive approach has major limitations as it does not guarantee the pack is safe and produces toxic gas and corrosive lithium chloride with undesirable environmental consequences.


Thus it is important to carefully consider all the safety aspects when working with lithium batteries and to have a clearly defined mitigation plan to prevent incidents.

Until next time!



February 02, 2016

Best practice benchmarking – What are the other companies doing?

Happy new year and welcome to the ABACUS blog! This month the discussion will be around what End-of-Life (EoL) options Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers are currently considering.

Circular economy

When moving from a take-make-dispose business model to a more circular model as shown in the picture above, several EoL options are at businesses disposal to implement namely reuse or re-purposing in a different application to the one the battery was originally designed for, reconditioning, remanufacturing or recycling. In order to benchmark the current best practice the EoL options for the main players in the EV sector needs to be reviewed.

A recent article on the insideEV website (http://insideevs.com/2015-bev-sales-in-europe-by-end-of-october-with-top-countries-models/) mentioned the top-selling EVs in Europe. The top 5 in 2015 were: Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Tesla model S, VW e-Golf and the BMW i3. Currently the EoL options for these vehicles are:

Nissan Leaf

4R Approach: Re-use, Re-sell, Re-fabricate, Recycle. Joint venture between Nisan and Sumitomo: Grid storage for homes and businesses


Warranty: Car is 3 years or 60,000 miles and battery pack is covered if the battery pack range goes below 9 out of the 12 bars displayed on your dashboard, over a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Renault Zoe

Recycling strategy: Deciding between Pyrometallurgical treatment or Hydrometallurgical treatment

Warranty: Car is 4 years or 100,000 miles and battery is 5 years or 100,000 miles
Battery Pack Lease option: £93 pm for 36 month contract and 12000 miles so 9.3c per mile
If 21000 miles for 36 month contract it is £149 pm so 14.9c per mile.

Tesla Model S

Recycling Program: Closed loop battery pack recycling-closed loop of material use involves manufacturing of battery cells, assembly into battery packs, then vehicles, and finally, recycling into raw materials for future use.
60% of battery pack (battery pack refined into nickel, aluminium, copper, cobalt to make lithium cobalt oxide to re-sell to battery module/pack manufacturers and by-products is used in making construction material) is recycled by Kinsbursky Brothers Inc and Toxco, 10% is re-used (electronics are removed and tested to determine if they can be re-used).

Warranty: 4 year, 50,000 mile (whichever comes first) new vehicle limited warranty, 8 year, 125,000 mile (whichever comes first) battery pack and drive unit warranty for 60 kWh battery pack equipped Model S, 8 year, unlimited mile battery pack and drive unit warranty for 85 kWh battery pack equipped Model S, Both battery pack warranties cover damage from improper charging procedures and battery fire, even if the fire results from driver error.

VW e-Golf

Recycling strategy: Only specifies recycling for material recovery (lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese), no details about process were given.


Warranty: 3-year/60,000 miles warranty (whichever is first), a 3-year paintwork warranty and a 12-year body protection warranty. The Battery has a guarantee for eight years or 99,360 miles (whichever comes first) on all material or manufacturing defects.

BMW i3

Reuse: BMW and Vatttenfall collaboration to use EOL battery packs to store solar energy at EV charging stations.


Warranty: 8 year/100,000 mile high-voltage battery pack warranty as standard, along with the 3 year unlimited mileage vehicle warranty.

From the examples above it is clear that the current EoL option of choice is the recycling route. Current recycling are either using a Pyrometallurgy based or Hydrometallurgy based process.

In recent years various projects investigating second life applications have been undertaken. OEMs like BMW announced a project looking into second life applications for EoL batteries. Nissan also anounced a project that will utilise used vehicle batteries in stationary storage. Toyota is also running a project in Yellowstone investigating energy storage using second life batteries. Tesla on the other hand announced products for the energy storage market using new cells.

As evident from above, the investigation into remanufacturing EoL batteries and reusing the batteries in the applications they were originally designed for is limited. In the upcoming Blog entries we will be focusing the discussion around relevant themes for EV battery remanufacturing.

Until next time...


November 11, 2015

And so it begins…

Welcome to the Abacus blog and welcome to November 2015. This is the first blog entry to introduce the topics that will be discussed over the next coming months. The following months will be dedicated to discuss the eight research themes that the project identified by considering the reverse logistics value chain for an Electric Vehicle (EV) battery and highlighting potential barriers to extending the in-use life of the EV battery.

The motivation behind EV battery in-use life extension stems from the need to adopt a move from the traditional take-make-dispose business model to a circular model due to legislation such as the Battery directive and the End-of-Life (EoL) vehicle directive. The Battery directive (Directive 2006/66/EC) prohibits the disposal of automotive batteries and industrial batteries (which include EV battery packs) by means of landfill or incineration. The EoL vehicle directive (Directive 2000/53/EC) also known as the End-of-life vehicles (ELV) directive specifies measures which aim to prevent waste from vehicles at the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery stages of EoL vehicles and their components to reduce the disposal of waste. The ELV directive measures have two components - it set out quantified targets for reuse, recycling and recovery and also pushes producers to manufacture new vehicles without hazardous substances that prohibits reuse, recycling and recovery of waste vehicles. More information about the directives can be found at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32006L0066 and http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32000L0053 and will also be discussed further in the Ownership and Liability blog entry.

The value chain that includes the reverse logistics for an EV involves many stakeholders including the battery pack manufacturer, EV manufacturer, EV dealer, customer, remanufacturer, Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), Approved battery Exporter (ABE), and the Approved Battery Treatment Operator (ABTO). The research themes identified in the project are:

  • Best practice benchmarking - What are the other companies doing?
  • Safety
  • Testing
  • Transport and Storage
  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Ownership and Liability
  • IP

So in the upcoming months each of these topics and the opportunities and barriers for the relevant stakeholders will be discussed in the blog posts. We hope you find it informative and useful!

Until next time…

The ABACUS team.


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  • Interesting project! Will be following closely, and thanks for your efforts. by Tom on this entry

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