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The batteries of the Tesla Roadster should last at least 7 years

Tesla Motors will work closely with Belgian materials technology group Umicore to recycle battery packs of its all-electric Roadster sports cars.

The carmaker said battery packs will be recycled at the end of their lives at a Umicore facility in Belgium, where the expended material will be reused to produce an alloy that will be further refined into cobalt, nickel and other metals.

“While we work to help lessen global dependence on petroleum-based transportation and drive down the cost of electric vehicles, we are also taking the lead in developing a closed loop battery recycling system,” Tesla’s director of energy storage systems, Kurt Kelty, said in a blog entry.

In a next step in the recycling process, Umicore will transfer the cobalt into high-grade lithium cobalt oxide, which can be resold to battery manufacturers.  Clean inertized slag, one of the byproducts generated in the recycling process, will go into the production of special grades concretes.

Umicore’s factories are able to recycle Tesla batteries into completely reusable materials and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing Lithium-ion batteries, the US-based carmaker said.

“Working with Umicore has allowed us to completely recycle the Roadster battery packs profitably, without special financial incentives necessary to promote recycling,” Kelty said in his blog entry.

Tesla has been building and selling highway-capable, fully-certified electric cars for three years. Its customers do not pay extra for recycling of the battery pack, which is expected to last 7-10 years or about 160,000 kilometers under normal use.

Tesla has delivered more than 1,500 Roadsters to customers in at least 30 countries in Europe, North America and Asia.