Recycling Scrap Electric Vehicles in the US

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) brings with it an array of opportunities, including the prospect of recycling scrap electric vehicles and other components. As these vehicles become more mainstream, we anticipate a steady stream of used electric cars and their motors, opening a new sector in the scrap recycling industry. This article will provide an in-depth overview of recycling scrap electric vehicles in the US and highlight the potential income from this process.

Regular Cars vs. Electric Cars: A Recycling Comparison

Traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) have distinct differences when it comes to their components and the recycling process.

Regular cars primarily consist of steel, aluminum, and other metals, with a small fraction of plastic and rubber parts. Recycling these materials is a mature industry in the US, with scrapped cars typically dismantled and their metal parts shredded, separated, and melted down for reuse.

On the other hand, electric cars contain significantly more complex and expensive components, including the electric motor and the battery pack. The electric motor contains valuable metals like copper and rare earth elements, while the battery pack contains lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other valuable elements. Therefore, recycling electric vehicles typically involves more specialized processes to recover these valuable materials.

Image: Scrap Cars at a Junkyard

Top 20 Scrap Yards for Electric Cars in the US

Please note that while the listed scrapyards accept a wide range of vehicles, specific policies regarding electric vehicles may vary, and it’s always best to call ahead to confirm.

Scrap YardAddress
Pull-A-Part4462 Shepherdsville Rd, Louisville, KY 40218
LKQ Pick Your Part4820 Moeller Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46806
Pull-A-Part Atlanta North6513 Marshall Blvd, Lithonia, GA 30058
Pick-n-Pull53 Harbor St, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Pull-A-Part Nashville5802 Centennial Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209
Pull-A-Part Birmingham2730 45th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35207
Pull-A-Part Augusta1591 Doug Barnard Pkwy, Augusta, GA 30906
Pick-n-Pull3015 Glenwood Rd, Decatur, GA 30032
Pull-A-Part Memphis2951 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
LKQ Pick Your Part – U-Pick4005 E. Hunter St, Anaheim, CA 92807
Pull-A-Part Knoxville5800 Rutledge Pike, Knoxville, TN 37924
LKQ Pick Your Part – Daytona1375 S Nova Rd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Pull-A-Part New Orleans4007 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121
Pull-A-Part Mobile1309 Henckley Ave, Mobile, AL 36605
Pull-A-Part Jackson1555 Gallatin St, Jackson, MS 39201
Pull-A-Part Columbia5702 Monticello Rd, Columbia, SC 29203
Pull-A-Part Corpus Christi4001 Agnes St, Corpus Christi, TX 78405
Pull-A-Part Houston SW1200 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX 77054
Pull-A-Part El Paso1300 Pendale Rd, El Paso, TX 79936
Pull-A-Part Greensboro4647 U.S. 29, Greensboro, NC 27406

Earnings from Recycling Electric Cars

The exact amount that one can earn from recycling electric cars depends on the car’s condition, the price of scrap metal, and the specific components in the car. The electric motor and battery pack are the most valuable parts.

Due to the relatively recent emergence of electric vehicles on a large scale, it is difficult to provide an exact figure. However, it’s worth noting that the global market for recycling lithium-ion batteries alone (a key component of electric cars) is expected to grow to $23 billion by 2030.

Video: BlueIndy Cars in Scrapyard

Here is a table illustrating the top 15 electric cars commonly recycled and their estimated recycling value:

Electric CarEstimated Amount Paid
Nissan Leaf$500 – $1000
Chevrolet Bolt EV$600 – $1200
BMW i3$700 – $1300
Tesla Model 3$1000 – $2000
Ford Mustang Mach-E$1000 – $2000
Audi e-Tron$800 – $1500
Kia Soul EV$500 – $1000
Hyundai Kona Electric$600 – $1200
Volkswagen ID.4$700 – $1300
Tesla Model S$1500 – $2500
Jaguar I-PACE$1000 – $2000
Mercedes EQC$1200 – $2200
Volvo XC40 Recharge$900 – $1600
Porsche Taycan$2000 – $3000
Tesla Model X$1800 – $2800

These are estimated amounts based on a combination of vehicle condition and current market rates for scrap and component parts, and they can vary widely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What parts of an electric car can be recycled?

Almost all parts of an electric car can be recycled, including the battery, electric motor, metal body, wheels, and interior components. However, the battery and motor are of particular interest due to their high-value materials, such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earth metals.

How are electric car batteries recycled?

Recycling electric car batteries is a complex process that typically involves mechanical and chemical treatments. Initially, the battery is safely dismantled and the parts are shredded. The resulting material undergoes several steps to separate the valuable metals, including leaching (a process where chemicals are used to extract the metals from the rest of the material), and precipitation (which allows the metals to be recovered from the solution).

Is recycling electric cars more profitable than regular cars?

The profitability depends on various factors such as the type of vehicle, its condition, and the current market prices for the materials recovered. Electric cars contain more high-value materials, like those found in batteries and motors, making them potentially more profitable to recycle. However, the processes to recover these materials can be more complex and costly.

Is it safe to recycle electric cars at home?

No, it’s not safe or recommended to try to recycle electric cars at home. Handling and dismantling electric vehicle components, especially the battery, can be hazardous and should be left to professionals. Incorrect handling can lead to chemical leaks or fires.

How can I dispose of my old electric car?

If your electric vehicle has reached the end of its life, you can sell it to a scrap yard or a company specializing in electric vehicle recycling. Make sure to ask about their process for handling electric vehicles to ensure they properly manage the car’s components. Some manufacturers have take-back programs for their vehicles as well. Always ensure you are following your local regulations regarding vehicle disposal.


Recycling electric vehicles represents a significant opportunity in the scrap metal industry. The high-value metals used in EV components can be profitable when recovered and recycled, helping to mitigate the environmental impact of discarded vehicles. However, this nascent industry faces challenges, including developing effective processes for recycling lithium-ion batteries and managing the potential hazards of battery handling and disposal.

As the electric vehicle market continues to grow, we can anticipate ongoing improvements and investment in recycling infrastructure, presenting an exciting future for both the automotive and recycling industries.

Remember that while recycling end-of-life vehicles is crucial, the best approach to reducing environmental impact is extending vehicle life through proper maintenance and, when they do reach the end of their life, ensuring they enter a recycling process that recovers and reuses as much material as possible.

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