Unlike fuels, the environmental costs of an e-Bus’s battery are a one-time event. The battery will be used for about 12 years in the bus and then they can be moved to provide fixed storage to support bus charging. This second life could last 10-20 years. Volvo is using former bus batteries for solar storage in Gothenburg.
Modern EV batteries are very similar to batteries found in cell phones and other household devices. The most common chemistry, Lithium Ion, includes common elements such as lithium, nickel and cobalt. Cobalt has a poor reputation as a lot of supply comes from conflict zones and is not mined responsibly. Steps are being made to reduce the amount of cobalt in lithium batteries and some buses use lithium-Fe which has no cobalt. Tesla and Panasonic are close to eliminating cobalt from their batteries.
Canada is rich in all the metals required for battery production, including cobalt. As the price for these metals raises, Canada’s production is set to increase.
Unlike lead acid or alkaline batteries, Lithium batteries are non-toxic and can be disposed in a land-fill. Battery recycling is a developing industry and it is now possible to recycle Li ion batteries economically.