Honda finally began marching into the European electric vehicle market last year (2019) after years of hibernation in the electric vehicle field. Apart from launching the first electric vehicle Honda E, the company also announced that it will terminate all sales of diesel models in Europe since 2021. Honda has also recently expanded on the operational scope with French battery recycling company SNAM to provide second life for batteries upon recycling, which are then used for households and energy storage systems.
One may attribute such action to the rise of electric vehicles, as well as the European Union’s increasingly rigorous carbon emission standard, for which the new regulation stipulates that since January 1st 2020, the emission of carbon dioxide for 95% of new vehicles in the European Union must not exceed 95g, which is a significant reduction compared to the previous threshold of 120.5g. All new vehicles in the European Union must meet this standard by 2021, otherwise a fine of €95 will be imposed for each exceeding gram (approximately TWD$3,100).
Companies are bound to release vehicles models that are more eco-friendly if they wish to retain in the European market. According to the vehicle planning of Honda, the company will focus everything on seizing the hybrid electric vehicle and electric vehicle markets in the future by terminating all sales of diesel models since 2021, and activating the electric vehicle modular platform by 2025. All models sold by the company in Europe will be equipped with elements of electric vehicles. Honda plans to increase the production of hybrid electric vehicles, now sitting below 10%, to 2/3 of its total output before 2030.
In order to expand on the electric vehicle field, Honda has also expanded on the cooperation with battery recycling company SNAM, to safeguard the procedure of battery recycling. Having already worked together back in 2013 when the primary task was to ensure that the battery recycling conformed to the standards of European Nation, SNAM will be collecting lithium-ion and NiMH batteries from the distribution network of Honda and its authorized treatment facilities (ATF) located in 22 countries, and further analyzing the destination for these discarded batteries. Undamaged batteries will not be sent to recycling plants immediately, for they are capable of a second development phase in energy storage systems, charging stations, and intelligent residential energy development, where they can retain for 7-10 years.
As for batteries that cannot be reused, they can be given second life by a certain degree of “organization”. Honda expressed that its team is able to utilize hydrometallurgy to extract cobalt and lithium materials, which can be used to produce new batteries, paint, or added to mortar additives. Tom Gardner, Senior Vice President of Honda Motor Europe, expressed that the increasing demand for hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles has also led to a substantial demand for battery recycling.
Honda is not the first to work with SNAM, as another Japanese manufacturer Toyota, as well as BMW and Ford from the France office, have also worked with SNAM. Toyota worked with SNAM in July 2011 on recycling NiMH batteries from all hybrid electric models of Toyota and Lexus, then worked with Belgium-based Umicore in August 2012 on recycling lithium-ion batteries. As of now, Toyota has achieved a 91% recycling rate of discarded batteries in Europe.
(Cover photo source: Flickr/Mike Mozart CC BY 2.0)