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Traction batteries > 20 kg: what if they are defective, damaged or end-of-life?

In an electric vehicle, the traction battery is the core. As a manufacturer, importer or distributor, do you fall under the take-back obligation? If so, you stay liable for that battery when it is defective, damaged or end-of-life. "Safety first" is always the motto. How do you deal with this? And who will assist you? That's the issue we are addressing here.

  • What are traction batteries?
  • What does the legislator prescribe?
  • What does one do with damaged or end-of-life traction batteries?
  • How does Bebat help you?  

If you already have a question about traction batteries for the Bebat experts, feel free to put it to them here.

What are traction batteries?

The traction battery - also called EV battery or industrial battery - is a powerful rechargeable battery, based on lead and (increasingly) lithium-ion. It delivers the energy to move electric vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars, as well as internal transport vehicles in industry or logistics, such as forklifts, stackers, pallet trucks, etc. (in these applications the battery often functions as a counterweight). The public transport of the future - from battery bus to train - is also battery-powered.

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Suitable for heavy work

Traction batteries can be found everywhere where heavy work has to be done.

Hence the many applications in cleaning machines, aerial work platforms and forklift trucks, all kinds of vessels, ... But also in other applications such as electric wheelchairs, golf buggies and caddies, caravans and mobile homes. Intensive use with 4 to 7 charging cycles per week and working in shifts of up to 24/7 will not put off such traction batteries.

A quality battery lasts up to 800 charging cycles on average. But it is never possible to predict with 100% accuracy the length of its service life. The impact of maintenance, extreme operating temperatures and the way of charging the battery is well-known. And a battery that suddenly fails is never welcome.

Read more about the life of traction batteries and how to extend it.

What type of battery?

A traction battery is actually a package: a collection of cells - each cell with a capacity of 2 volts - which are packed together in an iron or plastic container. These cells are connected to each other and contain positive and negative lead plates separated by a thin microporous separator or separation plate. The cells themselves contain an electrolyte of water and sulphuric acid.

Today there are many different types of battery in circulation. Some types can be brought straight home and can be collected relatively safely; others - such as traction batteries - can raise concerns and always require extreme care. Especially when they are damaged or rendered unusable.

When in doubt about type and approach, it never hurts to ask the opinion of an expert.

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What does the legislator prescribe?

As a manufacturer, importer or distributor of traction batteries - or vehicles containing those types of battery - you are also liable for what happens to them when they become end-of-life. The statutory take-back obligation, also referred to as 'extended producer liability’, involves a whole range of obligations in terms of collection, recycling, reporting and awareness raising.

Specifically, you are responsible for:

  • registration with the three Regions;
  • annual or monthly reporting of batteries of vehicles placed on the market (from starter battery and EV battery to button cell);
  • transport by a licensed company approved by the three Regions, in accordance with the rules governing the transportation of dangerous substances (ADR);
  • treatment and recycling of collected batteries by a licensed company approved by the three Regions;
  • achieving the minimum recycling efficiency and collection targets imposed by the EU and the Regions;
  • reporting to the three Regional Authorities;
  • prevention and awareness-raising campaigns.

Take note:

Your take-back obligation applies to all types of battery and weight categories, including the button cell in the remote control, the starter battery in conventionally fuelled vehicles (lead- and li-ion starter batteries) and the traction battery. 

If you bring your traction batteries back onto the Belgian market for reuse or second life applications such as energy storage, you will also fall under this legislation.

In order to comply with all these obligations, you can:

  • either set up an individual plan and take care of everything yourself;
  • or put Bebat to work so that you are fully compliant with the take-back obligation. One big worry less!

What exactly does the legislator prescribe?

How can Bebat help you?

Bebat assists you with the aftercare of all types of battery, including

  • lithium and other traction batteries (even > 20 kg and > 60 volt DC)
  • from passenger cars, category N1 goods e-vehicles (small vans up to 3.5 tons)
  • mopeds and category L motorcycles
  • e-steps, e-bikes, iWheels, hoverboards, buses (M2-M3)
  • goods vehicles (N2-N3)
  • trucks, tractors, quadricycles (L6-L7)
  • e-boats, electric golf buggies, and so on.

This aftercare consists of consecutive stages : safe handling, collection & transport, storage, diagnosis and dismantling, recycling/reuse/repurposing. Bebat can offer solutions for each option.

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Safety

Dealing safely with damaged or discarded lithium-ion batteries > 20 kg  - from collection via storage to recycling – can only be done if you have the necessary expertise and experience. Bebat has processed more than 10,000 industrial batteries over the past five years. To that end we have the right specialists in house, from high-voltage technicians to recycling experts.

Transport & storage

Transporting lithium-ion traction batteries is subject to European rules governing the transport of dangerous substances (ADR). These include the necessary reporting requirements. Bebat's ADR experts are ready to answer any questions you may have. Furthermore, Bebat also provides transport and, if necessary, storage facilities.

Read here how Bebat approaches the transportation of traction batteries.

Diagnosis & dismantling

Before recycling can take place, it is necessary to make the right diagnosis

in order to see what else can or should be done. Usually the battery is dismantled: stripped of its 'packaging' to assess the individual cells and to see if repair (re-use) or another application is possible. Again: it is an intervention that requires knowledge and experience. Only approved dismantling companies are eligible to carry out this work.

Recycling

Before the valuable raw materials (lithium, cobalt, nickel, ...) are recycled to be reused as raw material in batteries (which is perfectly possible), other possibilities are considered: 

  • Reuse: repair the battery to be re-used as a traction battery 
  • Repurposing: preparing the battery for new applications, e.g. energy storage.

Good to know: Bebat can assist you with both options, or just one, offering tailor-made solutions for > 20 kg Li-ion batteries based on a tailor-made agreement.

How this agreement is set up? 

  • First, we look together at exactly what your needs and wishes are;
  • These are enshrined in a proposal for cooperation;
  • If you are happy with that, we then process it into an individual agreement;
  • From then on, you can rely on Bebat's tailor-made service;
  • Of course, the tailor-made fee is also calculated. Payment is only necessary when the services are provided.

Read more on this subject in this blog article.

Tailor-made also means: across borders, if necessary.

Bebat is the pacesetter of the European Reneos network: the alliance of national market leaders in battery collection. As a result, service provision knows no borders. And all that from one online platform, with one point of contact and one invoice.

In short:

With Bebat you are relieved of a major concern - the statutory take-back obligation - and you are always in immediate contact with a partner that specialises in the safe, compliant collection and recycling of traction batteries. Both in Belgium and abroad.


Need a clear answer to your question?

For solutions tailored to your specific situation, please contact one of our experts.


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