New battery technology for electric cars has improved greatly over time, and battery waste toxicity is lower and less of an issue. Extensive recycling programs, and more awareness, now help most batteries reach recycling centers instead of being dumped in landfills.
New Batteries and Electric Cars
The batteries used in electric cars are either electric-vehicle batteries (EVB) or traction batteries. These batteries are used to provide power that can be used to move an electric car, and they are typically rechargeable.
Traction batteries can fulfill the same purpose but they are typically used for other vehicles such as forklifts, riding floor scrubbers, electric golf carts, and other electric vehicles such as cars, trucks, and vans.
It may seem like EVBs and traction batteries are basically the same thing, but they have some key differences in how they operate that make them better suited for specific purposes. Traction batteries supply more power to the vehicle at a given time and are recharged each night, while EVB is designed to supply power over an extended period of more than one day.
EVBs are also different from conventional car batteries as they are known for their higher energy to weight ratio that makes them well suited for long distance journeys. Lighter batteries that have more energy to provide over an extended period of time will provide longer performance for electric cars.
Standard batteries are geared more towards the starting, lighting, and ignition of a vehicle they supply power to. This means they require less power and need power for a shorter amount of time.
EVBs can be filled with a variety of compounds that help them to achieve the storage of more power. These compounds include nickel-metal hydride, Li-ion polymers, lithium-ion, and NiCd. They can also include molten-salts and zinc-air, but these substances are less commonly found.
The newer batteries found in electric cars are able to transport vehicles up to approximately 250 miles, however, this distance is increasing as battery technology and electric cars improve. Newer EVBs may also have longer lives but that can depend largely on how they are used during their time spent powering an electric vehicle.
The lifespan of Electric Car Batteries
The life of an electric car battery may vary somewhat but most perform well for several years. The famous TV personality, Jay Leno, is well known for owning a 1909 Baker Electric car that still runs on its original Edison cells. While batteries may have changed quite a bit since then, the basic concept of storing power for extended periods has not changed.
Electric car battery life is also another topic that comes up when battery waste toxicity is discussed. Some of the chemicals used in the production of batteries can be harmful to humans and wildlife, and somewhat unkind to nature as well.
By making the lifespan of batteries longer, fewer of them will need to be produced, and fewer toxic chemicals and battery waste will be produced. Many places that produce batteries also have battery recycling programs where they reclaim old batteries and process the battery waste in such a way that it is not toxic to the environment.
Not all batteries made from different kinds of chemical compounds will perform equally over time. For example, lithium-ion batteries do deplete somewhat over time, and their effectiveness will begin to decrease when used in an electric car.
Nickel metal hydride is currently the most favored option as it does not lose as much of its effectiveness over time as the lithium-ion batteries. However, it has a lower capacity for power at the same weight as lithium ion.
New battery technology for electric cars has brought to market some interesting combinations of power and weight with different compounds contained inside. While scientists are at work trying to make better and more efficient batteries, there are other corporations taking what is available and making it something that consumers can buy.
Tesla is a well-known name in the electric car market as the company that led the way towards electric cars when other large car companies insisted it was a lost cause. The founder and CEO, Elon Musk, was not deterred by their skepticism and Tesla moved forward with creating multiple models of electric cars.
In addition to breaking open the electric car market, Tesla also began to build its own battery factory in Nevada where they are now able to produce batteries at a lower cost. The lower cost of batteries directly translates into savings for consumers as new battery technology will be readily available in new electric cars.
As electric car battery life improves electric cars will be able to run longer without needing a replacement battery. Replacement batteries can frequently cost thousands of dollars and can be quite the expense for car owners who previously owned gasoline powered cars.
How Are Electric Cars Bad for The Environment?
Many savvy consumers have begun to question if electric cars are bad for the environment as they share many components with the often-demonized gasoline-powered vehicles. One of the key concerns is what happens to the battery in an electric vehicle when it is no longer in service.
Electric car batteries are built in such a way that they are able to be recycled once their useful life is over. However, not every vehicle will make its way to a recycling center promptly, and some will get left behind. Improperly disposed of batteries is a concern on a slightly larger scale for electric cars than for normal household batteries.
Electric cars that have been involved in accidents may leak fluids from their otherwise sealed batteries, and although there are safety measures in place to prevent this, it is still a possibility. These leaking fluids can end up on the ground or in the water and may pose some toxic effects to the immediate environment.
Battery waste toxicity is something that researchers are concerned could impact the local ecology in places where vehicle accidents are common, or where batteries are produced. While the Tesla factory has so far been seen as a good example for responsible battery production, not all manufacturing companies will be as careful.
Battery waste toxicity could occur around battery manufacturing areas when safety standards are not maintained, or there is an industrial accident of some kind. Chemical spills are not unheard of, and chemical transportation accidents do happen.
It is also important to remember that different pieces of electric cars are also used in gasoline powered cars and those pieces may take harmful chemicals, or fossil fuels to create. There is also the gasoline required to transport materials and parts that make up electric vehicles.
It is for that reason that scientists have decided that both gasoline and electric vehicles both have their merits when it comes to doing harm to the environment. However, the electric cars do not continue to harm the environment by continuously burning fossil fuels in order to operate.
As electricity begins to be produced using clean energy such as wind and solar, we will be able to see how electric vehicles will begin to become the clear choice as the car that is better for the environment. However, even electricity produced from oil or coal will translate to more miles for an electric car, than gasoline does in a gasoline-powered car.
What Is Battery Waste?
Battery waste and battery waste toxicity are two key concerns for electric cars and their production and use. Battery waste has been somewhat reduced by aggressive recycling programs, and consumers are encouraged with monetary incentives to turn in their batteries.
Battery waste toxicity will largely depend on the substances used to create the battery, its condition after use, and how long it has been in service. Certain compounds found in different types of batteries will have various levels of degradation over years of service, however, most electric car batteries produced are recyclable.
When batteries are not disposed of properly, their casing will degrade and the chemicals inside will leak out. Not only is this bad for the environment but the chemicals can cause burns and severe irritation if they come in contact with someone’s eyes or skin.
Chemicals such as acid, mercury, lithium, nickel, lead, cadmium, alkaline, and nickel metal hydride are all good examples of toxic substances that could end up accumulating in people and animals. When these substances leak into the environment they can infiltrate waterways, the soil, and plants which then, in turn, are consumed or used by animals and humans.
Not all batteries are equally toxic and local recycling programs are well aware of this. Recycling programs are designed to address battery waste toxicity by recycling different kinds of batteries in ways that are most appropriate.
Most batteries can be completely disassembled and recycled in ways that are safe for the environment and humans, while some will have more involved methods of being contained. The main goal is to keep the toxic material out of landfills, and away from living things that it could harm.