Sales of electric vehicles in Europe has been pushed by policies and legislations of the EU and its member states. On 14 July 2021, the European Commission announced, “Fit for 55”, the package of legislative proposals to tackle climate change.
Transport is one of the sectors in which Fit for 55 aims to strengthen the legislations. It will increase the emission limit in automobiles and by 2035, all newly registered cars must have zero emission. Under this circumstance, the transition to EVs seems to be inevitable.
With significant increase of EVs, those that reach end-of-life will also grow. As economic operators in the ELV sector need to respond this change, their preparations are starting in Europe.
The Netherlands is one of the leaders in promoting electrification and circular economy in the country. The country’s ELV sector is also moving toward the coming era of end-of-life EVs.
Van Boxtel is the first car dismantler that launched end-of-life EV treatment in the Netherlands. The company has developed “an immersion pool” to safely store damaged EVs and special containers to keep traction batteries safe.
MIRU asked Van Boxtel to speak about the current situation and the future of EV treatment.
To be the first one in EV treatment
In Europe where the majority of car dismantlers consists of family-run companies, Van Boxtel is not the exception. It stated its business about 30 years ago and currently has two facilities, one for dismantling cars and the other specialized in treating accidented or damaged cars, operated by two brothers. The company treats approximately 1000 cars a year including EVs. Van Boxtel is known in the country for its own [Text Box 7] development of facilities and equipment for the treatment of EVs such as an immersion pool (as in the photo left) or a special battery storage (as in the photo below).
The immersion pool is a water container in which a complete EV is placed in case of a fire.
The container to store batteries comes with a smoke and fire detector as well as an alarm. In addition, it is equipped with water tanks on the roof. The workshop is equipped with necessary safety features for dismantling an EV and all workers are provided with protective equipment.
According to Mr. Robbert Van Der Kuijl, head of the sales of Van Boxtel, the Dutch government is currently preparing to set up necessary requirements for EV treatment which will be ready by the end of this year. As of now, authorized treatment facilities (ATFs) of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles are responding to the need by following the specifications provided by car makers, sending their workers for special training or workshops for the handling and installing necessary equipment for safety in their facilities. In the upcoming requirements by the government, the safety features that Van Boxtel developed will be included.
Mr. Van Der Kuijl says that currently end-of life EV treatment is quite profitable and the company sees it as a big opportunity. It decided to invest 100,000 euro in the necessary equipment for EV treatment. Because of high safety concerns, ATFs that can handle end-of life EVs are still very limited in Europe. Given this, Van Boxtel collects EVs (including hybrid) from all of Europe including Russia and Lithuania. The last owners of EVs are mainly insurance companies. In the last three years, the company collected 400 EVs. Many of its clients contact them through the company’s website or from reviews of other clients who know about their specialization in EV dismantling.
Is EV treatment profitable?
We asked about the cost and profit in EV treatment. After all the cost, the profit from end-of-life treatment is around 20%, Mr. Van Der Kuijl says. The more profitable parts for reselling are traction batteries and engines. As for batteries, while it varies depending on vehicle models, they are resold around 1,000 to 12,000 euro according to him. The company sells these parts through an international online platform (multilingual) for secondhand parts sales. The site receives clients not only from Europe but also from the Middle East or Asia. If batteries are not in the shape to be reused, they go to recycling. In this case, ARN, a Dutch producer responsibility organisation, collects the batteries and sends them to specialised recyclers. The cost for their transportation is covered by ARN.
Asked if overall profit in treating EVs is better than that of ICE vehicles, Mr. Van Der Kuijl confirmed, ”Presently, yes, it is better. However, in the coming era of end-of-life EVs, all ATFs will be competitors and the price for parts and components will go down. It will be very difficult to keep current profitability. For this reason, we wanted to be the first one”
In comparison to ICE vehicles, the biggest challenge in treating EVs is “the safety issues above all”, he affirms. In particular, end-of-life EVs currently available are mostly accidented or damaged ones. For this reason, to ensure safety in facilities is the most serious issue and could cost the fate of your company. “A fire from a damaged battery could occur in a second. If you fail to set up proper safety measures, you could lose instantly all what you have built in many years”, he stressed again. At the same time, “Although safety issues are the most important we can surely deal with them by installing necessary equipment and providing workers with appropriate training. This is a major change from ICE vehicles, but we are able to adopt this”, he added.
Collaboration for this interview:
・Mr.Robbert Van Der Kuijl, Head of Sales, Van Boxtel, the Netherlands
・Van Boxtel ：https://autodemontagevanboxtel.nl
(The Article from MIRU, translated by Y. SCHANZ)