Transportation of electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries at end-of-life: A literature review

The market for electric vehicles (EVs) has grown exponentially over the past decade, largely driven by ambitious sales targets in regions around the world. At end-of-life (EoL), these batteries must be managed properly to maximize reuse and recycling, which requires an efficient and safe collection and transportation system; however, the logistics of transporting EoL batteries are rarely examined in depth in scholarly research. In this paper, we conduct a critical review of the peer-reviewed literature on EV traction battery reuse and recycling to assess how transportation is represented. We find that among 60 studies identified, 70% mentioned collection and transportation as a challenge to battery reuse or recycling, and 63% identified a need for policy or further research related to collection and transportation. Among 17 papers that focus on cost, estimates for transportation costs vary widely among studies, from more than five dollars per kg to less than 30 cents, representing, on average, 41% of the total cost of recycling. Studies that examined the environmental impact of EoL transportation suggest it contributes 1–3.5% of life cycle GHG emissions for a recycled battery. In response to the limited and highly variable treatment of battery EoL transportation, the literature review is followed by contextual information about the United States, including the regulatory framework and existing network for EoL batteries. Recommendations for future study include place-specific research on optimal facility siting that considers both existing and projected infrastructure, and which reflects costs and environmental and social impacts at local scales.