The Strategic EV Management Act, which aims to maximize reuse and recycling of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries in federal fleet vehicles, passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. It now heads to the House of Representatives.
The bill calls for federal agencies such as the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget to collaborate with the U.S. EPA, manufacturers and recyclers to create a strategic plan for reusing and recycling EV batteries. It also calls for coordinating with scientists, labs and startups working on such projects. The amended version passed in the Senate also calls for a report on how costs to operate and maintain electric vehicles in the federal fleet compare with costs for vehicles with combustion engines.
The bill is sponsored by Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Gary Peters, D-Mich.; Richard Burr R-N.C.; and Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.
“As the federal government’s electric vehicle fleet continues to grow, it must also ensure it has a coordinated strategy for optimal battery longevity,” Romney said in a statement. “The federal government should lead by example, and the more cost-efficient we are in this space, the less dependent we will be on foreign suppliers.”
Current recycling technologies can recover up to 95% of the minerals and materials needed to manufacture new batteries, he added.
The Senate’s passage of the bill marks another recent instance of federal action in the EV and lithium-ion battery recycling space.
The Department of Energy is working to allocate $335 million in funding for lithium-ion battery recycling included in the 2021 infrastructure law. That’s in addition to about $60 million in funding for second-life applications and recycling processes for EV batteries.
Government policies that incentivize EV recycling could have an impact on recycling markets for materials such as nickel and lithium in the near future, said Joe Pickard, chief economist and director of commodities for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, during a media briefing about the U.S. economy on Thursday.
“There's tremendous upside potential given the volume of electric vehicles and EV batteries that are already coming into the marketplace,” he said.