Toyota Motor Thailand has opened a battery life-cycle management plant for hybrid electric vehicles in south-central Thailand.
The facility will have a reported recycling capacity of 20,000 units each year and be run by the TTK Logistics (Thailand) Company – a subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho.
The plant is the first outside Japan to acquire the technology and know-how to recycle batteries from hybrid EVs, Toyota said.
Michinobu Sugata (pictured), president of Toyota Motor Thailand, said: “It’s our mission to make fundamental preparations for the expansion of hybrid EV usage in the near future. In order to achieve such an ambitious goal, hybrid battery production and life-cycle management will be one of the core contributing factors.”
Sugata said, used batteries from all makes of hybrid EVs would be collected from “certified partners” in Thailand and subjected to a “quick and accurate assessment of the battery performance level”. The modules of the used batteries will then be checked and classified into three grades: high-efficiency, moderate-efficiency, and low-efficiency.
High-efficiency modules will be re-assembled and sold under warranty as ‘Hybrid Rebuilt’ units, costing about one-third of a new battery, Sugata said.
Moderate-efficiency modules that are still capable of restoring electric charge will be re-used in energy storage systems.
Low-efficiency modules will be recycled, with recovered nickel and cobalt used to produce new hybrid EV batteries.
Sugata said a gasification furnace process “can destroy toxic substances under controlled temperature and can recycle both nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries”. After treatment, the low efficiency units will be sent to Japan for the harvesting of “valuable mineral elements”.
Toyota introduced hybrid EVs to the Thai market 10 years ago. The company said it expects a total of 36,000 EVs, 19,000 of which will be hybrid models, to be sold in the country in 2019.