Audi EV battery recycling trials succeed

More than 90 percent of the cobalt and nickel in the e-tron’s batteries can be recovered for re-use.

German car manufacturer Audi and its partner materials expert Umicore have been able to recover more than 90 percent of the cobalt and nickel in the high-voltage batteries of Audi’s e-tron vehicle.

The partners will next cooperate on developing a closed loop for cobalt and nickel. The recovered materials will be used in new battery cells.

Umicore will receive cell modules from the Audi e-tron model, which will initially be taken from development vehicles. From those cells, the materials technology expert will recover cobalt and nickel, and process them into precursor and cathode materials.

New battery cells containing recycled cobalt and nickel can be produced from this precursor.

“A closed loop for battery raw materials is a big leap technologically. We save precious resources and reduce CO2 emissions,” said Dr. Bernd Martens, member of the board of management for Procurement and IT at Audi.

The Audi e-tron EV.

“In this way we come significantly closer to our goal of a sustainable supply chain and reach a milestone on the road to achieving an overall carbon-neutral balance by 2050. It is our aim to think sustainability holistically. This includes dealing with the remaining ‘end of life’ as well as resource-saving development of our products.”

“Umicore is committed to enabling the transition to electrified mobility,” said Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore.

“Innovative technologies, responsible sourcing and closing the materials loop will lead the drive towards clean mobility. This project with Audi is at the forefront of the development of a sustainable value chain for electrified transport.”