The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment has today announced that it is seeking consultation from the public on a proposal to charge electric vehicle buyers a fee to handle the process of recycling a vehicle’s batteries once they’ve run their course.
The ministry wants the ‘stewardship fee’ to be an upfront cost that’s paid when someone buys an EV up front, rather than a cost that people face once their battery needs replacing. Exactly how much the fee would be remains unclear.
The ministry is also considering introducing a similar stewardship fee for tyres, too, which will affect all car buyers, not just electric vehicle buyers. It notes that 6.5 million tyres are imported into New Zealand each year, adding that once these tyres reach their end of use two thirds go to landfill or are illegally dumped.
“When large batteries end up in landfill toxins can be released into the environment. The most common large battery chemistry cell currently in use – lithium-ion – can also catch fire if damaged further impacting our environment,” says the ministry.
“Large batteries, most commonly found in electric vehicles, are expected to steadily increase as people move towards EVs.
“We’re proposing a product stewardship fee is charged at the time of purchase to cover collection and recycling at the end of a products’ life – so it will be free for you to dispose of tyres and large batteries.”
The ministry claims that an estimated 1,000 electric vehicle batteries reached their “end of use” last year, and it claims that by 2030 that number could swell to 84,000 each year.
It’s unclear how the ministry arrived at these figures, with electric vehicle enthusiasts already questioning the legitimacy of the ministry’s data on social media. It’s well documented that a large portion of end of life electric vehicle batteries are recycled and used for other means of power supply.
NZ Autocar has contacted the Ministry for the Environment to ask where these figures originate from, and we will update once we have their response.
The ministry is taking feedback from the public on its proposal up until December 16.