Today’s round of questions, my smart-aleck replies and the real answers:
Question: How are North Carolina and Buncombe County handling the disposal of electric car batteries? With the push to go all EV, what is the plan to handle the batteries when they start aging out? I had a 9-year-old Volt and the battery crapped out, and the repair was more than the worth of the car. I was faced with disposing of the car and most parts, or junk yards not willing to take it. It may not be a problem today but will be in the future. So might be a topic you would want to address.
My answer: Using this formula, I cannot get a car repair that will cost more than $400.
Real answer: Melody R. Foote, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, had some suggestions on this one.
“Currently, the best management strategy for EV batteries at end-of-life is a return to the vehicle manufacturer, many of which have relationships with EV battery recyclers,” Foote said via email.
Foote acknowledged that as more electric vehicles reach the end of their lifespans, “infrastructure will need to be in place to collect batteries from individuals and scrap yards.”
“NCDEQ plans to support local governments and businesses with technical assistance and best practices to make sure batteries can be safely collected and directed to responsible recycling facilities,” Foote said.
The Carolinas are seeing growth in the EV battery recycling industry, she added.
“South Carolina recently announced that two EV battery recycling companies are coming to the state,” Foote said. “Redwood Materials plans to build a facility outside of Charleston, and Cirba Solutions plans to build a facility in Richland County.”
Buncombe County is not at the forefront in this movement.
“Buncombe County does not have a specific path to dispose of EV batteries at this time,” county spokesperson Lillian Govus said via email. “Echoing the response of NCDEQ, the best management strategy for EV battery disposal is to return the battery to the vehicle manufacturer. We look forward to expanding our services to support EV battery recycling through our county facilities.”
By the way, the reader is not exaggerating about the cost of these batteries, according to a September 2022 article from JDPower.com.
“If your warranty runs out and the battery just happens to be beyond repair, you have to look for a replacement,” the article states. “Unfortunately, a new pack can cost $5,000 on average and as much as $15,000 in some cases.”
On the good news front, prices should drop in coming years as more people buy EVs, JD Power notes. Also, manufacturers are working on better, longer-lasting batteries. The article states:
“Generally, EV car batteries last from 10 to 20 years. Certain factors like heat, cold, or swift charging times can negatively affect that and reduce performance. Manufacturers have already included protective measures like thermal management systems and charging restrictions. Plus, you (can) always get a warranty that covers the repairs if need be.”
Question: I live off North Rugby Road in northern Henderson County. About a month ago a series of signs appeared on Rugby Road and Rugby Drive, Butler Bridge Road and on Asheville Highway. The signs are turned away from traffic for now, but if you sneak a peek they appear to indicate a detour for U.S. 25 (Asheville Highway). I can’t find any improvements or repaving listed on the NCDOT website. What gives?
My answer: Thank you for confessing to being the infamous “Rugby Road Sneaky Peeker.” An officer will be visiting soon.
Real answer: Nothing particularly nefarious going on here.
“The signs will direct traffic on a detour when necessary,” NCDOT spokesperson David Uchiyama said via email. “This summer, a contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will have several nighttime closures of at least one direction of U.S. 25 over Interstate 26.”
The detour will tell drivers to use Butler Bridge Road, North Rugby Road, Rugby Drive and Asheville Highway.
“It’s the detour used while crews replaced Butler Bridge Road bridge in less than six months,” Uchiyama said.
Later this year, a three-day closure will occur.
“NCDOT will provide additional information and advance warning when the precise closure dates are known,” Uchiyama said, adding to visit www.DriveNC.gov for real-time traffic information.
Got a question? Send it to John Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-337-0941.