A bill passed in the U.S. Senate on September 14 aims to maximize the reuse and recycling of end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries in federal fleet vehicles. The Strategic EV Management Act requires the heads of federal agencies to develop a comprehensive, strategic plan for federal EV fleet battery management.
The plan would:
- maximize both cost and environmental efficiencies; and
- guidelines for optimal charging practices that will maximize battery longevity and prevent premature degradation;
- guidelines for reusing and recycling the batteries of retired vehicles; and
- any other considerations determined appropriate by the administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The bill calls for federal agencies like the GSA, a top contract provider of vehicles and equipment for government fleets, to work alongside other agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as manufacturers and recyclers to create the plan.
The legislation would also require the U.S. Comptroller General to submit a report to Congress on how the costs and benefits of operating and maintaining EVs in the federal fleet compare to the costs and benefits of operating and maintaining internal combustion engine vehicles within two years after it is enacted.
The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.
EVs in the Federal Fleet to Increase
In the coming years, the number of EV batteries in federal fleet vehicles in need of recycling will grow. Late last year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the federal government to acquire 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035, including 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027.
"As the federal government’s electric vehicle fleet continues to grow, it must also ensure it has a coordinated strategy for optimal battery longevity," U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a statement. "This common-sense legislation will ensure agencies are doing just that, as well as publishing guidelines for the reuse and recycling of retired vehicle batteries. The federal government should lead by example, and the more cost-efficient we are in this space, the less dependent we will be on foreign suppliers."
Recyling the batteries would increase the domestic supply of EV batteries and rare materials that can strengthen supply chains and improve our nation's global competitiveness, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters said in a statement.
“As the federal government continues to acquire electric vehicles, it is paramount that our agencies are equipped to optimize the management of the growing fleet,” U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty said in the same statement.
In August, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a request for information on the collection, transportation, sorting, processing, and second-life applications for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized $335 million to invest in lithium-ion battery recycling.