LKQ expects significant cost and CO2 savings from traction battery repair and refurbishment
In a joint study, RWTH Aachen University and LKQ investigated the challenges posed by defective and end-of-life traction batteries of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and demonstrated possible solutions for reuse, refurbishment , repair and recycling of batteries.
At the 43rd Vienna International Automotive Symposium, the Professorship “Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components” (PEM) at RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, and LKQ Europe presented their investigation into traction battery challenges that arise over time and use, such as component and battery degradation failures. They assess the benefits, the cost and the reduction of emissions by a circular ecosystem. The forward-looking project focuses on conserving resources, protecting the residual value of battery electric vehicles, and extending battery life to keep the vehicle on the road with good performance.
Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe
“Electric mobility is accelerating – and must be careful not to exceed its own sustainability claim in the process. The volume of lithium-ion batteries in the last stage of their life in electric vehicles will increase massively in the coming years” , says Professor Achim Kampker, founder and director of the PEM chair at RWTH Aachen University. “Therefore, we have to develop economical and sustainable concepts for the optimization and reuse of batteries – and at the very end also for the recovery of raw materials.”
Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe: “We want to be the first to bring electrification to the independent aftermarket. Our cooperation with RWTH Aachen University is a crucial part of our strategy to offer traction battery diagnosis, reverse logistics, repair and recycling services. . As the largest vehicle recycler, LKQ is rapidly expanding its lifecycle solutions for electric vehicles. »
The study focuses on critical elements and potential solutions in the value chain. A fully closed loop has the highest cost savings and minimizes CO2 emissions, emphasizing the importance of battery repair and refurbishment. The recycling of raw materials remains important, but should only be considered as a last resort.
The traction battery is the most valuable part of a battery electric vehicle, and it should last 10-14 years before needing replacement. At this point today, an unclosed battery loop is still present in many situations, resulting in wasted materials and costly disposal. But raw material supply scarcity, emission reduction targets and cost considerations call for long-term sustainable solutions. End-of-life as well as defective BEV batteries must be handled in a closed-loop system. With the current strong rise of electrification in the automotive sector, the European automotive value chain is on the cusp of a major transition. LKQ expects a sharp increase in the number of battery electric vehicles in the independent aftermarket from 2028, when a significant number of BEVs will come out of manufacturer’s warranty and enter independent workshops.
“We expect around 34 million high-voltage batteries installed in the battery electric vehicle fleet in Europe by 2030,” says Christoph Schön, E-Mobility Innovation Manager at LKQ Europe. “The question is, how long will these batteries stay untouched? Current estimates are that by the end of the decade, around 1.3 million batteries per year will come off the road due to electrical, mechanical and electrochemical and will need to be diagnosed and then repaired or replaced. After that, we expect these efficiencies to continue to increase at a rate of 30% per year. If the entire battery system needs to be replaced, this work is expensive We want to have suitable and long-lasting solutions offered, where the driver of an electric car does not need to invest in a new battery for a 10-year-old vehicle, but can obtain a repair or a battery refurbishment for a fraction of the cost.”
As a key enabler of a circular economy in the automotive sector, LKQ’s goal is to provide solutions to the challenges of the workshop of the future. Additionally, vehicle and battery manufacturers need to consider design for disassembly early in their product development processes to reach the scale of repair and refurbishment later on. Finally, policy makers are required to provide an open and competitive framework, allowing non-discriminatory access to battery interfaces for the aftermarket to enable service and repair.
About PEM RWTH University of Aachen
The Professorship “Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components” (PEM) at RWTH Aachen University studies all topics in the automotive value chain in the field of electromobility and is very successful in many numerous projects in the areas of battery production, electric powertrain and other automotive production systems. PEM has also published various articles on circular economy topics for e-mobility components.
About LKQ Europe
LKQ Europe, a subsidiary of LKQ Corporation, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, is the leading distributor of automotive spare parts for cars, vans and industrial vehicles in Europe. It currently employs around 26,000 people with a network of over 1,000 branches and a turnover of around $6.1 billion in 2021. The organization supplies over 100,000 independent workshops in more than 20 European countries .
The group includes Euro Car Parts, LKQ Fource, the RHIAG group, Elit, LKQ CZ and the STAHLGRUBER group, as well as the recycling specialist Atracco. LKQ also holds a minority stake in Mekonomen Group.
A video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeaN8AK6e_Q
European media contact
Dr. Christiane Lesmeister
LKQ Europe GmbH
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