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How to recycle your Electric Vehicle (EV)

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

With the growing number of electric vehicles (EV) on the road there isn’t enough information and guidance about the dangers associated with scrapping/recycling Hybrid and electric vehicles (HEV) and their batteries. At first glance it would appear that there would be little difference in recycling an electric vehicle compared to conventional car. However, these two vehicle systems are very different and highly dangerous if not disposed of properly.

Dangers of scrapping an electric car?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to recycling an EV is the handling and storage of nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) or lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries, which can be an incredibly dangerous task. These batteries are designed to pack as much power as possible, the amount of electrical energy stored in them is very significant. Therefore scrapping batteries of this type requires specific training for staff, as these batteries can be highly dangerous to both the environment and to those handling them. If these batteries are mishandled or stored incorrectly, there is a significant risk of a fire or explosion.

Another hazard that is often ignored when removing these batteries is the risk of electrocution. The risk of electrocution is not directly linked to the voltage but depends on the intensity of the current and on the length of time it takes to pass through the body. This further highlights why you must go to a qualified ATF with certification on working on EV’s.

The electric motors within these vehicles contain powerful magnets. The magnets have enough power to interfere with medical devices such as pacemakers or rip tools from mechanics pockets.

Handling, Storage and Recycling

EV batteries must be stored differently to normal parts as they pose a higher risk for fire and explosions. They must be carefully handled and stored by a qualified vehicle dismantler with restricted access to the storage area. The battery must be stored in a dry area and sufficiently secured to avoid it from falling over. The batteries must also be stored securely to ensure no items can fall in them.

If a battery in these vehicles has been damaged in an accident and not suitable for reuse, it can be recycled. The recycling process is complex and there are currently no facilities in Northern Ireland for recycling these batteries therefore an export to mainland Europe is required.

All personnel involved in the handling, storage and shipping of these batteries need to be properly trained and qualified.

What about the rest of the car?

Parts from these vehicles can be sold on to help the repair of other electric vehicles including the battery, it’s just not a simple case of dismantling a vehicle like a conventional car.

Here at Traynors we are a licensed ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility) and have been at the forefront of vehicle recycling for over 40 years. With the extra risk involved with working on EV’s we have qualified staff in level two and three training in IMI Electric/Hybrid vehicle system repair and replacement. This is critical for the safety of our staff, property and the environment. Ensuring your EV is scrapped at Traynors will give you the peace of mind of knowing the car battery will be carefully and properly removed from these vehicles.


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