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  • Writer's pictureMoshiel Biton

3 Ways that the EV Industry Is Moving towards Green Production


As the world seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the EV industry can help achieve this by delivering a sustainable transport system. To do this, the full life cycle of EVs must be considered to avoid creating resource issues while trying to reach specific climate goals. At the same time, rising costs, unpredictable supply risks, production-related resources and energy demands, and environmental concerns are leading stakeholders to find alternative and more optimized ways to make EVs.


Currently, transport accounts for approximately 20% of global emissions while road travel accounts for 75% of that amount. As a result, the transport industry in general is seeking ways to become greener. From eco-friendly production processes to low-carbon energy sources to a circular economy, the EV industry is moving towards green production by adopting more sustainable practices and more efficient battery structures to reduce emissions and energy.


Sustainable Materials and Eco-Friendly Production Processes


As EV manufacturers seek alternatives to traditional materials that are more environmentally-friendly, they are also looking to go through a more environmentally-friendly production process. Indeed, a more efficient manufacturing process can dramatically reduce the amount of energy being used along with the emissions. Whether it’s through a more efficient and energy-saving process, drying process, dry coating or AI-based manufacturing, industry players are looking for innovative ways to increase efficiency while reducing energy consumption. Consequently, some EV manufacturers are investing in clean technologies and are thought to be looking into using bioplastics and more lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber, and reducing waste. Indeed, both Tesla and BMW have both made commitments to sustainability and reducing waste.


Tesla

The American EV-maker has committed to only sourcing responsibly produced materials and ensured that decommissioned and scrapped materials are recycled, reducing landfill waste. For their battery materials, they are refined and put into a cell, and will still remain at the end of their life, when they can be recycled to recover its valuable materials for reuse over and over again. Additionally, Tesla has been working on an advanced dry coating process, which would cut down the amount of energy needed to produce battery cells.


BMW

Similarly, BMW is constantly driving sustainability forwards with its innovations. Currently, the German car maker’s vehicles are made with an average of 30% recycled and reused materials. Indeed, the manufacturer is prioritizing materials procured in a responsible way, that are processed carbon-free or at least low in carbon and highly recyclable. Furthermore, BMW is developing a high-quality leather alternative material made with 30% of cactus fibers.


Using Low-Carbon Energy Sources


With EVs being one of the most promising technologies to reduce emissions in transportation, their advantages also depend on where the power they run on originates from. Today, not enough EVs are manufactured with and powered by renewable energy. As a result, more EV manufacturers are sourcing their energy from renewable sources to reduce their carbon footprint during production. This mainly includes wind and solar, and includes Tesla, General Motors and BMW among the early adopters.


Tesla

Tesla has already been using solar energy to power charging stations. Indeed, one of its super charger stations in Santa Monica, California, is equipped with a large array of solar panels that sit on top of the 62 super charger stalls below. Additionally, one of Tesla’s projects, Tesla Energy, is supplying power to businesses, homes and utilities by selling solar panels, solar roofing and battery storage packs.


General Motors

In the case of General Motors, the American car manufacturer has finalized an energy sourcing agreement to secure all the energy required to power its US facilities by 2025, five years ahead of the 2030 target. With this agreement, GM should avoid the production of a predicted 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions that would have been produced between 2025 and 2030, the equivalent of the emissions released by burning 1 billion pounds of coal.


BMW

The German car maker started using wind power to offset the energy used by its EVs, while it also uses renewable energy to power its factories. As such, the production of the electric BMW iX and BMW i4 at Plants Dingolfing and Munich was entirely powered with regional green hydroelectricity with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of the production processes.


A Circular Economy


One of the most important aspects of being more sustainable is to create closed-loop systems, where waste and emissions are minimized at the same time as resources are reused. Indeed, whether it’s by using repurposed materials or modular components that can easily be recycled, the EV industry is looking for solutions to cut down its carbon footprint and really be the greenest form of personal transport. This includes reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing and recycling materials used to produce EVs.


EV Battery Metals

Over their life cycle, batteries account for a substantial proportion of the environmental impact of EVs. Indeed, materials such as copper, cobalt and nickel to name a few, require extraction from specific, unique and sensitive environments. This can come with social risks linked to mining, including the labor source and conflicts Moreover, even though nickel and cobalt are currently recycled to an extent, the European Commission predicts a cobalt deficit as early as 2025. Consequently, if these metals aren’t returned into circulation, economic growth and environmental values will be compromised.


Lithium in EV Batteries

In the case of lithium, demand is expected to increase by 500% between 2018 and 2050. Additionally, the rapid growth in the use of lithium-ion batteries in EVs has introduced a very large quantity of lithium-ion batteries on the market, which in the near future will become spent. Indeed, with millions of EVs equipped with or powered by lithium-ion batteries, they play an important role in the electrification process and tend to be at the forefront of technology innovations. As a result, options to properly handle the used lithium-ion batteries must include remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling. By closing the loop and remanufacturing and repurposing the batteries, the materials can be returned back to the value chain, reducing waste and the need for new resources.


Becoming Greener with Addionics


With reducing the carbon footprint being one of the EV industry’s main goals to achieve an even more environmentally friendly transportation option, it’s working towards creating a more sustainable future. Indeed, by adopting circular economy principles while sourcing more eco-friendly materials and energy, EV manufacturers are taking many steps towards reducing their carbon footprint. Addionics uses advanced cell design, 3D current collectors, and smarter battery structures to optimize the amount of materials needed. This technology can be integrated into any new or existing battery chemistry, regardless of which battery components are used.


Find out more about Addionics' technology or contact us for collaboration opportunities.


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