Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

AutoDrain L

EVs and the future for the end of life vehicle industry – are you ELEV ready?

Ken Byng, Senior Manager at CarTakeBack, the largest scrap car recycling network in the UK, provides us with his thoughts on being ELEV ready and the challenges the vehicle recycling industry are faced with when it comes to end of life electric vehicle processing.


EVs and the future for the end of life vehicle industry - are you ELEV ready? f
Ken Byng

Anyone with even a passing interest in the news can’t fail to have noticed the exponential growth in sales of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the past few years. In fact, according to SMMT’s statistics, EVs actually outsold Diesel-powered vehicles for the first time in April of this year. With EVs set to become more affordable due to ‘budget’ OEMs successfully entering the EV arena and disrupting the market (and even Tesla announcing the introduction of their ‘£20k’ EV in the next 3 years), and with the recently announced acceleration of the move to zero-emission car sales by UK Government from 2040 to 2035 (and even a rumoured further acceleration to 2030), there can be no doubt that this sector-bucking growth will continue apace into the future.

EVs and the future for the end of life vehicle industry - are you ELEV ready? p two
CarTakeBack and BMRA EV Training

For our industry, the rising numbers of EVs on UK roads is going to provide something of a challenge once they reach their end of life. As many ATFs know only too well, earlier hybrid electric vehicles have been cropping up as low-volume ELVs for several years now, in particular, cars such as the Toyota Prius with their Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery packs. Although newer EVs with their lithium-ion (li-ion) battery packs are a rarer and more complex prospect for most ATFs at the moment other than the odd ‘premature’ ELV (usually arising thanks to insurance companies writing off damaged ones as total loss), it is only a matter of time before we start to see volumes entering ELV streams at their ‘natural’ end of life. Currently, the scale of the problem is obscured by the fact that there is a thriving resale market for EV components – including li-ion batteries – meaning that even those ELEV arisings where the vehicles are in very poor shape are generally worth money to someone, somewhere. At some point, however, even this market will reach its saturation point, and it is then that we will start to see the true situation, with unwanted ELEVs becoming a burden as opposed to a commodity.

Most ATFs will hopefully be aware that there are serious safety risks associated with handling EVs and their batteries, such as the obvious high voltages present, the potential for fire and even explosion amongst others. Whilst it is critical that these risks are properly considered and mitigated even before the ELEV is collected or delivered into the yard, the magnitude of the challenge facing us as an industry is greater and wider even than the safety of our colleagues. For example, due to no mainstream EVs existing when either document was written, there are gaps in the existing Waste Battery & Accumulator Regulations and the ELV Regulations, with neither really reflecting where we are now and where we need to be in the future. Whilst these are in the process of being reviewed, we are unlikely to see fresh sets of regulations for quite some time.

Another major issue we face is the current costs attached to recycling li-ion batteries (as opposed to them having value like NiMH batteries), exacerbated by the lack of UK based lithium-ion EV battery recycling facility. Any batteries which are unfit for second life purposes must currently be exported to mainland Europe for recycling – an expensive and complex operation even now, but once the ‘post-Brexit’ arrangements are introduced, it is unlikely that things will get any easier – or cheaper!

However, what is not so well reported is how our fast-moving and innovative UK ELV and recycling industry is proactively striving to overcome these issues and turn challenges into opportunities. At CarTakeBack, we have been working hard over the past few years to help make sure our ATF partners are ‘ELEV ready’, through such initiatives as:

  • in partnership with the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), developing our own ELEV safe handling training for any ATF associated with CarTakeBack or holding BMRA membership;
  • sitting on several research and innovations boards and proactively contributing to ground-breaking Faraday Institute research into everything from ensuring EVs and batteries are designed with the dismantler in mind, to developing a UK based li-ion EV battery recycling facility;
  • exploring sustainable new value streams for ELEV components and batteries into the future.

If you are interested in what CarTakeBack is doing and would like to join our network, or if you would like to attend one of our BMRA ELEV safe handling days, please do get in touch.

Please call 0800 0717191 or email, alternatively, please visit

adam hewitt ltd

More News

ATF Professional is produced by ARW- Group LTD, which is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 14914439

The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


01432 355099

© All rights reserved

Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

e2e awards logo

e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

New Client Special Offer

20% Off

Aenean leo ligulaconsequat vitae, eleifend acer neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, tempus.