Indian e-waste recycling company Attero Recycling has contacted electric vehicle maker Tesla to provide battery materials for its Gigafactories, according to Attero chief executive Nitin Gupta.
“We have explored the possibility of exporting our recycled production to Tesla, and she is happy to buy it from us. However, due to Covid-19, the deal could not be finalized. No agreement has yet been signed, but we have had a first conversation with Tesla for such an arrangement, ”he added.
The Gigafactory will be the largest building in the world, fully powered by renewable energy. According to the Tesla website, “The materials in a Tesla lithium-ion battery are recoverable and recyclable.”
“Battery materials that are refined and placed in a cell will always stay in the cell at the end of their life, when they can be recycled to recover its valuable materials and reuse them over and over again. None of the discarded lithium-ion batteries will go to landfill and be 100% recycled, ”he said.
Gupta said his talks with Tesla did not raise the possibility of the company setting up a battery assembly or cell manufacturing plant in India.
“In my opinion, for a start, Tesla could look to import its cars made entirely in India. In the second phase, it could start assembling cars in India, and in the third and final step, it could set up a Gigafactory in India. But, it’s still a long way off, ”he said. Tesla spokespersons could not be reached for comment until press time.
Tesla currently sources its batteries from major producers such as Panasonic, Chinese CATL and South Korean LG Chem. It will start manufacturing its own batteries once the Gigafactory is operational.
The wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesla, Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt. Ltd has received approval from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to deploy four models of electric vehicles for the domestic market. He has also reportedly been in talks with the government to relax import duties on fully built units, which are taxed at 60-100%. However, no formal decision has yet been taken.
Gupta said that although cell makers have yet to invest in India, the government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program for manufacturing advanced chemical cells could attract businesses. “I expect global cell manufacturers to see India as a market. This would allow us to close the loop of the circular economy by supplying key recycled components to industry in India. “
Amperex Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of Japan’s TDK Corp., had acquired 180 acres near Gurugram in 2020 to set up a cell manufacturing unit. It is expected to start operations by the end of 2022.
Gupta expects that the draft policy of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, entitled “Circular economy in the electronics and electricity sector”, will be formally adopted by end of the year. The project says that although India is the third largest producer of e-waste behind China and the United States, it only collects 10% of the waste.
The project indicates that in the short term, the objective is to collect the key components and secondary materials of electronic waste generated in India. The PLI program should be extended to manufacturers using recycled battery materials, meeting recyclability standards and establishing a sustainable product policy.
Ravi Neeladri, CEO of Bengaluru-based Cerebra Green, said the first steps to enforce government e-waste compliance are already underway. “Original equipment manufacturers are asked to recover 50% of the devices that each of them manufactured a certain number of years ago and to recycle them at the end of their life cycle”, a- he declared.
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