Economically viable electric vehicle lithium-ion battery recycling is increasingly needed; however routes to profitability are still unclear. We present a comprehensive, holistic techno-economic model as a framework to directly compare recycling locations and processes, providing a key tool for recycling cost optimization in an international battery recycling economy. We show that recycling can be economically viable, with cost/profit ranging from (−21.43 - +21.91) $·kWh−1 but strongly depends on transport distances, wages, pack design and recycling method. Comparing commercial battery packs, the Tesla Model S emerges as the most profitable, having low disassembly costs and high revenues for its cobalt. In-country recycling is suggested, to lower emissions and transportation costs and secure the materials supply chain. Our model thus enables identification of strategies for recycling profitability.
iScience, Volume 24, 23 July 2021,