Evaluating the electric vehicle popularization trend in China after 2020 and its challenges in the recycling industry

Shuoyao Wang, Jeongsoo Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, China has started to develop electric vehicles (EVs) and has become the largest EV market in the world since 2015. Accordingly, the lithium-ion battery (LiB) industry has also been developing quickly in China. However, the Chinese government has decided to cancel the subsidy policy on EVs, which makes the EV market in China unpredictable in the future. Moreover, there will be a considerable number of end-of-life (EoL) EVs and waste LiBs generated in China. These wastes should be appropriately recycled to avoid resource waste or pollution problems. Nevertheless, the quantity and type of EoL EVs and waste LiBs has not been obtained. This research aims at unravelling the trend of EV sales and the volume and type of EoL EVs and waste LiBs in China. We found that it is fair to predict that EVs will increase as the Chinese government has planned even without the subsidy policy. Moreover, we estimated the number of EoL EVs and waste LiBs number based on their calendar lifespan and found that there will be 1.36 million EoL EVs and 11.36 million waste LiBs generated in China in 2030. Furthermore, most of these waste LiBs will be of the nickel cobalt manganese oxide type of ternary LiBs. However, due to the flow of second-hand vehicles from economically developed cities to less economically developed cities, only 400,000 EoL EVs and 3.4 million waste LiBs will be recycled through the formal recycling route. Such information is necessary when evaluating the environmental effect or profitability of the EoL EV and waste LiB recycling industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-827
Number of pages10
JournalWaste Management and Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • China
  • Electric vehicle
  • distribution route
  • estimation
  • lithium-ion battery
  • recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution


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