Volkswagen Group UK has signed an agreement with Ecobat, one of the world’s leading providers of battery recycling solutions, which entails the collection and recycling of EV batteries. The collaboration between the two companies traces its roots back to 2014 when Ecobat commenced the collection of lead acid batteries for TPS, the VW Group genuine parts provider. Since then, their partnership has burgeoned, particularly expanding in 2019 to encompass high-voltage batteries.

Under the latest agreement, Ecobat will spearhead the collection and recycling of lithium-ion battery materials from electric vehicles. The firm will utilise its fleet of ADR-compliant vehicles to collect high-voltage batteries from various sources, including dealers, distributors, and end-of-life recycling centres. These batteries will then undergo meticulous processing at Ecobat's new lithium-ion recycling centre in the UK. Notably, this facility marks Ecobat's third lithium-ion recycling establishment, supplementing its existing operations in Germany and Arizona.

Gallery: Ecobat battery recycling facility

Ecobat's recycling endeavours adhere to UK battery regulations, with the company assuming responsibility for managing extended producer responsibility (EPR) on behalf of Volkswagen Group UK. With a robust framework conforming to ISO standards for quality management, environmental management, and health and safety, the company provides a sustainable, circular loop for battery recycling while minimising waste.

“I’m pleased to be extending and expanding our relationship with Ecobat. As we move to decarbonise road transport, the number of electric vehicles in our car park is rapidly increasing, and we need to ensure sustainability throughout the lifecycle. Working with our trusted partners, we are confident we can reassure our dealers and customers that we are responsibly moving towards our electrification goals,” Sylvain Charbonnier, Director of One Aftersales for Volkswagen Group UK, comments on the deal.

Under a directive approved by the European Council last summer, battery manufacturers are compelled to recover a minimum of 63 per cent of materials from end-of-life batteries by 2027, with the target escalating to 73 per cent by the end of 2030. Moreover, in the case of lithium-ion batteries, the targets are even more stringent, with recovery rates expected to reach 50 per cent by 2027 and 80 per cent by the conclusion of 2030.

The EU has also introduced mandatory minimum levels of recycled materials for the production of new industrial lead-acid batteries and batteries for electric vehicles. These requirements entail that new batteries must contain at least 85 per cent recycled lead, 16 per cent recycled cobalt, 6 per cent recycled lithium, and 6 per cent recycled nickel.