While it can probably be assumed that a number of consumer automobiles manufactured today make use of similar materials and similar production or manufacturing processes, there are differences that are worth noting, and this is perhaps especially true where Tesla Motor’s Tesla S is concerned. Unlike most standard consumer vehicles that require gasoline to function, the Tesla S runs on a rechargeable lithium battery, and unlike other electric cars, this Tesla model is capable of running for longer on a single charge (Muoio). Further, Tesla Motor’s CEO Elon Musk has set goals for his company that set it apart from other automobile manufacturers (e.g., the company produces as many of its own parts as it can, the company tries to establish relationships and to explore various regions so that it can attempt to source as many raw materials as possible from the United States or North America in general) (Lambert). As such, it is difficult to compare the materials and processes that go into the production of the Tesla S to the materials and processes that go into the production of other consumer automobiles. This paper will discuss the materials and parts that Tesla Motors sources in order to produce the Tesla S. This paper will also examine the ways in which these materials or parts are used, maintained, and recycled, and it will discuss what becomes of these parts or how they are disposed of once they have reached the end of their current lifecycles. The materials list and the processes discussed here may not be exhaustive, however, as there is pertinent information that is protected (by Tesla Motors or by companies that are a part of its supply chain) (Randall). Further, there may be information regarding materials’ sources that is not entirely up-to-date, and this is only because Tesla has had to change sources (either locations or companies in its supply chain) – sometimes frequently and without much pubic notice – in order to meet customer demand, account for environmental-based materials shortages, etc. (Lambert). While Tesla is an innovative company, to be sure, it seems to suffer a bit from sustainability issues with regard to some of its raw materials, thus the need to change sources relatively frequently. So far, this has not affected the company’s design of the Tesla S, but it does affect one’s ability to secure all pertinent information regarding the materials that go into its design. That said, Tesla has engineered a consumer automobile that has – so far – done what no other has been able to do: outrun any other consumer-targeted electric cars on the market, and do it in an environmentally-sound way (Muoio; Eberhard and Tarpenning).
Raw materials acquisition
The raw materials that go into the interior of the Tesla S include rare earth metals, petrochemical-based plastic, leather from cowhides, silicon, carbon fiber, and copper wire (Desjardins). The body and chassis, which Tesla Motors manufactures in its Nevada-based facility, are made of Bauxite aluminum, titanium, and boron steel (iron, boron, coking coal, additional additives) (Desjardins). Tesla Motors also manufactures the model’s induction motor, which is made primarily of steel and copper (Desjardins). The car’s tires, which are supplied by Continental and/or Michelin, are made of a petrochemical-based rubber and Bauxite aluminum (Desjardins). The model’s battery, which is supplied by Panasonic, is comprised of three key components: the cathode, the anode, and electrolytes (Lambert). The materials that make up the cathode include nickel, cobalt sourced from the Philippines and/or Idaho, aluminum, and lithium (Desjardins). The anode is made up of silicone and synthetic graphite from Japan and various European sources; Tesla may eventually source flake graphite from Canada, Idaho, and/or Minnesota (Cole). The battery’s electrolyte component is made up of lithium mined in Australia and salt; the salt serves to transport the lithium between the cathode and the anode.
At present, and for the last few years, Tesla Motors has been working to address shortages regarding some of its material needs (Lambert). To address this, the company has actively sought materials from more than one supplier or region, and is continuing to explore the availability of materials in new regions so that it can effectively and efficiently meet its consumer demand. As noted earlier, this has not affected the design of the Tesla S thus far, but it does make identifying all of its materials’ sources a challenge.
Further, Tesla Motors has opened its own Nevada-based manufacturing facility so that it can produce as many of its own parts as possible, and it has publicly vowed to source as many raw materials as it can from within the United States or North America in general (Lambert). Because a number of its materials are not available in many regions in great abundance, and some of them have not been sourced in North America in many decades, this presents greater challenges when attempting to determine where some of the company’s materials are sourced and how exactly they mined, processed, etc.
Manufacturing, processing, formation
While there are surely additional raw materials that go into the manufacturing, processing, and formation of the Tesla S parts, as this is the case with most processed goods, including automobiles, Tesla and many of its raw materials suppliers and parts manufacturers (e.g., Randall; “Lithium Australia Makes Lithium Production Breakthrough”) have cited or alluded to trade secrets when questioned about the specific materials and processes that are involved in things as seemingly rudimentary as mining or as relatively complex as turning petroleum-based plastic pellets into high-end interior parts or turning salt and lithium into a long-running and environmentally-friendly power source. As such, it is difficult – if not impossible, really – to determine exactly what additional materials or processes are involved in the manufacturing and processing of the known materials that comprise the Tesla S. This is often the result of newly innovative processes; companies or manufacturers want to protect their innovations so that they can more efficiently provide a service or produce a good that is better than other similar processes or goods, and that places them in a highly competitive position in the market (Teece).
Distribution and transportation
Tesla’s sales model is one that eliminates the middleman – in this case, the dealership – altogether. While Tesla has showrooms in a number of states throughout the U.S., it is only legally permitted to make sales via those showrooms in four states (i.e., California, Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia). People living in other states must order their Tesla vehicles via the Tesla Motors website. As such, Tesla must transport many of the vehicles purchased by U.S.-based consumers via flatbed trucks and trailers (“How to Ship A Tesla Across the Country”). In addition, Tesla delivers its vehicles to foreign buyers via cargo ships, and once the vehicles are removed from the ships, they are also transported to their respective buyers’ locations via flatbed trucks and trailers (“Delivery to Europe”).
Use, re-use, maintenance
Because the Tesla S runs off of electricity rather than gasoline, it must be charged regularly as part of its routine use. The components involved in the use, re-use, and maintenance of the Tesla S include DC charging stations, which require the use of mobile connectors and/or adapters; solar panels, which are used as some charging stations to offset energy use; and 240v electrical outlets, which are used with Tesla’s mobile connectors and adapters. As of October 2015, there were 12,700 (which is equal to nearly 32,000 electical outlets) charging stations available throughout the United States (“Charging Station Count Rise, but Plug-in Vehicle Sales Fall”).
Tesla is able to re-use 10% of its battery pack (by weight), and this is facilitated by the companies Umicore (in Europe) and Kinsbursky Brothers (in the U.S.), which break the batteries down so that they yield cobalt that can then be re-used in new batteries (Kelty). In addition, lithium from the batteries ends up in an environmentally friendly slag that generally ends up in construction materials such as cement (Kelty). Further, metals from the Tesla S can be assessed for their alloys and subsequently recycled (“Steel Recycling”). The steel is shipped via truck to steel mills where it is melted down and then sold to various manufacturers and re-used in new products (“Steel Recycling”). Plastics and glass from the Tesla S may also be recycled (“Plastic Recycling”; “Glass Recycling Facts”). Plastics are separated by type, chipped, and melted down into pellets; these pellets are subsequently sold to manufacturers and used in new products. The glass is also separated by type (usually by color), crushed, and melted, and then it is molded into new products. Despite being a large product with many parts made up of different materials, the Tesla S can be broken down – for the most part – and recycled like smaller, simpler products.
Once a Tesla S has reached the end of its lifecycle, it, like most vehicles, can be dismantled for spare parts. This involves first draining the vehicle of its fluids and then disassembling it as necessary (“A Guide for Vehicle Recycling”) . When a vehicle, including the aforementioned Tesla model, is not used for spare parts, the batteries, metals, plastics, and glass are recycled, and everything else are shredded and transported to landfill via truck. Because the Tesla S is a newer model vehicle, it is unlikely that any, save for perhaps any that have been totaled in accidents, have been recycled or broken down for parts yet. It is more likely that batteries from the model may have been recycled, but there is no publicly available record of this.
Like other vehicles on the market, the Tesla S is comprised of a number of materials and working parts. The Tesla S, however, is different from most other consumer vehicles in that it not only runs off of electricity, but it also manages to outrun all other manufacturers’ electric consumer cars. This means that, while Tesla Motors makes use of some of the same materials other manufacturers may use, the company must also source materials that are unique to its product line and that are not always easy to source. This can make it difficult perhaps for the company to secure lasting relationships with some vendors or materials suppliers, as they may not all have adequate resources to make available to Tesla. This can in turn make it challenging to properly research all of the materials used in Tesla’s design. Further, because the company and many of its suppliers provide new and innovative services or products, they are not yet inclined to disclose all of their processes or materials used when, for example mining lithium or processing steel such that it becomes a working induction engine like the one in the Tesla S. Hopefully, Tesla and other similarly innovative companies that are working to bring environmentally-sound services and products to the market will feel secure enough to share their methods and processes so that more companies can build on them and develop their own environmentally-sound services, processes, and goods. The Tesla S is a worthwhile vehicle in both its form and its function, and it is made all the better because it has a smaller in-use footprint than the average gasoline-burning vehicle (Eberhard and Tarpenning). For this reason, as well, it would be welcome if Tesla Motors would eventually consider making some if its design processes more widely available.
"Charging Station Count Rises, but Plug-in Vehicle Sales Fall." Autoblog, 25 Feb. 2016, www.autoblog.com/2016/02/25/charging-station-count-rises-but-plug-in-vehicle-sales-fall/.
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Professor Christina Cogdell
The Life Cycle of a Tesla Model S - Energy
There are generally two categories in motor vehicle industry, the traditional vehicles, which are powered by gasoline, and the 21st century vehicles, which are either hybrid or powered by clean energy, namely, electricity. The major differences between these two categories of vehicles are on the aspects of fuel efficiency and economic efficiency. Generally speaking, traditional gasoline vehicles usually have the miles per gallon ranging from 23 to 35, while hybrid cars usually hit 40 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge), and surprisingly, Tesla can reach the range of 102 to 105 mpge for Model S. Although the data may differ depending on the sources, one fact that we are sure of is that the average miles per gallon equivalence for electric vehicles is generally higher than that of gasoline vehicles. Furthermore, electric vehicles cost less on charging than gasoline cars cost on gasoline consumptions.
Both categories of vehicles are “going green”. Traditional vehicle manufacturers try to introduce cars with more mileage per gallon to evoke the idea of lowering the greenhouse gas emissions per mile driven, while the hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers try to promote the concept of using clean energy, in this case, electricity, to reduce our carbon footprint on transportation.
Tesla,, has introduced the concept of clean energy, and more efficient electric vehicles into mass production. However, as we explore its life cycle, from its material sources taken, energy consumed in production, to its waste management and recycle process, we gain a clearer insight on the environmental impact Tesla brings about in reality.
This paper focuses on the energy aspect of the lifecycle of Tesla. It includes the discussion on the energy consumed on the acquisition of raw materials, the energy used for use, reuse, and maintenance, and the energy needed for recycling and waste compost.
Analysis of The Lifecycle of a Tesla Model S
Acquisition of Raw Materials
The two major components of raw materials acquisition are sourcing and powering. Sourcing refers to the process of searching for raw material reserves, while powering refers to the mechanism of generating the amount of energy required to extract the materials from raw ore. On the sourcing aspect, Tesla is facing difficulty in sourcing huge amounts of raw materials, which include 110,000 tpa of coated spherical graphite, 75.000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide, and 21,000 tonnes of cobalt to supply its current demand. (Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, 2016) Meanwhile, Tesla is expanding its Gigafactory, the lithium-ion battery factory, whose capacity is expected to reach 150 GWh, which is three times the original planned capacity of 50 GWh in order to satisfy the needs. (Lambert, 2016)While Tesla is sourcing worldwide for raw materials continuously, it expects the capacity of Gigafactory for 2020 to reach 35 gigawatt-hour per year of cells, which is equivalent to 50 GWh per year of battery packs. (Teslamotors, 2014) Although there is no specific data on the energy required for raw material acquisition, we still can conclude that it takes a huge amount of energy just to build a Gigafactory, and it definitely takes a lot more energy in searching for raw materials worldwide.
Distribution and Transportation in Energy Cost
Tesla, as an exception to the traditional cars that are sold and distributed either by local dealers or authorized dealers, carries its own dealership. There are exhibition stores in malls and plazas that showcase limited number of models. The exhibition room for Tesla is rather an educational place where customers get to know about the features of the models than a sales place for getting rid of the models in lot. (Fehrenbacher, 2016) Tesla starts the manufacture after the order is placed, and will deliver to door (or ready for pickup on an assigned date). This customized way of distribution and transportation indeed takes more energy per car than that of the traditional dealers, but it reduces waste in the sense that no excessive vehicles are made—every vehicle made has a purpose to serve.
With headquarters located in south Fremont, California, Tesla now is expanding its factories all over the world. 60% of the car parts are sources from North America, then assembled entirely at the Tesla factory. (“Tesla Motors”, n.d.)The general wait time made to order is about two to three months for delivery. Upon the completion of manufacturing, Tesla models are shipped on trucks from Tesla factory, then delivered directly to door, Depending on the locations of customers, the shipping and delivery charges may differ (it might also take shipping though water in delivery). On average, the shipping and delivery costs around $1,000 per Tesla vehicle. (“Tesla Shipping Services”, 2016) In terms of carbon emissions, the following emission factors indicate how much carbon dioxide shipping a Tesla vehicle may generate by the following means: air cargo - 1.7739 lbs CO2 per Ton-Mile, truck - 0.3725 lbs CO2 per Ton-Mile, train - 0.2306 lbs CO2 per Ton-Mile, and sea freight - 0.0887 lbs CO2 per Ton-Mile. (“Time For Change”, 2016)
Tesla operates on a order-to-manufacture basis. In other words, every single Tesla model is customized, and they are delivered “Direct-to-Consumer”. (Rubenoff, 2016)
The major manufacture process is on the lithium-ion battery, which is produced in Tesla Gigafactory. Tesla has claimed the annual battery production capacity to be 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh) as planned, and it satisfies the demand for the production rate of 500,000 cars per year in half of the decade. (Teslamotors, 2016). The Model S has two major battery configurations, the 60 kWh pack and the 85 kWh pack. Based on the experiment on tearing down the Model S battery, we have got the following data in regards to the battery manufacture. The 60 kWh battery pack consists of 14 modules of 384 cells that add up to 5376 cells in total, while the 85 kWh pack contains 16 modules of 444 cells that add up to 7104 cells in total. (Lambert, 2016) Based on the experiment, each cell of the 60 kWh pack contains 11.161 Wh of energy, while each cell of the 85 kWh pack contains 11.965 Wh of energy. (Lambert, 2016). In general, the actual energy that the battery packs contain is lower than claimed.
Use / Reuse / Maintenance
The only energy used during the lifetime of a Tesla vehicle is electricity. According to Tesla battery calculator, it takes 13.2 kWh Tesla S battery.(Teslamotors, 2016) On the forum, the customers report that it takes about 77 kWh of energy to fully charge a Model S battery pack, and 70 kWh of which may contribute to the realistic consumption for driving from full to empty. (“Forums”, 2016) With Tesla’s Supercharger, half of the battery of a Model S can be replenished in 20 minutes. (Teslamotors, 2016)
Lithium degradation has been one of the major concerns that consumers hold towards electric cars like Tesla. (Noland, 2015) The recent surveys on Tesla’s battery degradation has shown that the Model S’ battery pack generally retains 95% of its capacity for the first 50,000 miles driven, and then the degradation rate significantly drops with higher mileage. (Lambert, 2016)
For service, Tesla provides over 500 Supercharger stations in the US, and charging is free for users. (Richard, 2015) For maintenance, Tesla warranty provides a 4 year, 50,000 miles coverage for the new vehicle, and 8 year, unlimited mile coverage for battery and drive. Besides, there are several prepaid service plans that cost ranging from $1325 to $4000. (Teslamotors, 2016)
When it comes to tearing apart a Tesla Model S at the end of its life cycle, not all materials are composed as waste. In fact, a great portion of materials can be recycled, including the cobalt, nickel, and other rare metals, and they can be reused to make new batteries for future vehicles. (Gaines, 2014)
Lithium-ion battery cells are manufactured in Japan where there are strict environmental laws to keep the RoHS standards. When recycling the battery cells, they try to maximize the amount of material that could be reused, and minimize the energy consumed in the recycling process. (Richard, 2008) As a result of the recycling process, Tesla is able to recycle around 60% of the ESS materials, and among which 10% could be reused into making new batteries. (Kelty, 2008)
On the official website, Tesla claims that the Tesla Loop Battery Recycling Program provides not only an attractive feature on respecting the environment, but also a high margin of return. (Teslamotors, 2011)
All the motor vehicles have a limited lifetime, so does Tesla.Materials such as cobalt, nickel, and other rare metals are recycled, while the others are composed as waste. Tesla recycling factory tries to minimize waste by maximizing recyclable materials. (Richard, 2008) Statistic shows that with over half ESS materials recycled, the rest 40% of the ESS materials go to waste. (Kelty, 2008)In European region, the lifespan for Tesla battery is 7-10 years, or 160,000 miles of mileage. Tesla vehicles that reach their lifetime will be recalled back to the recycling factory in Belgium for waste management. (New Atlas Team, 2011)
It has been a controversial topic for years whether electric vehicles like Tesla are indeed as environmentally green as they ought to be since they are first introduced. (Wade, 2016) Analyzing from different standpoints would give us quite different conclusions. On one hand, electricity is indeed a cleaner energy than fossil fuels, so from the perspective of burning fuels, electric cars are green as they help reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by avoiding fossil fuels consumption. On the other hand, if we take the whole lifecycle of an electric car into consideration, the manufacture process itself of producing an electric vehicle takes more energy and generates more carbon emissions and pollutions than that of a regular gasoline vehicle. With this portion accountable for evaluation, electric vehicles could not be considered as environmentally responsible as they are advertised.
Just as the discussion on solar panels, now a part of Tesla’s battery source, (Shanahan, 2016), whose benefit is not clearly seen in the short run, Tesla vehicles also give a similar dilemma as we could never imagine where it would lead in the future without enough experience and feedback from current users. Therefore, whether Tesla is actually “green” remains a disputable discussion, and from different perspectives, we may come up with different reasoning, but in conclusion, there is one fact that is not debatable, that Tesla is using green energy, electricity.
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Rubenoff, Sarah. “Direct-To-Consumer Sales Debate Goes Way Beyond Tesla.” Auto Remarketing. N. p., Web. 22 Jan. 2016.
New Atlas Team. “Tesla Announces Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Program in Europe.” New Atlas. N.p., Web. 1 Feb, 2011.
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Kelty, Kurt. “Mythbusters Part 3: Recycling Our Non-Toxic Battery Packs.” Tesla. N.p., Web, 11 Mar, 2008.
Shanahan, Jess. “Tesla’s Acquisition Of SolarCity Is A Match Made In Heaven With Its New Powerwall 2.” Energy Digital. N.p., Web, 28 Nov. 2016
Leandro Reyes Reyes
Professor Christina Cogdell
December 1, 2016
Waste: Tesla Model S
Throughout the process of designing, drafting, and building any product there is large amount of potential waste. Waste can be produced in various ways from unused materials to chemical gases that are released during the creation of the item. Automobiles, more specifically the Tesla Model S, are no exception to this. The world-renowned vehicle is advertised as environmentally friendly and produces zero emissions. Waste that comes from the Tesla Model S is publicized to be close to none and this alone has caused a craze around the car. Our group chose to analyze the life cycle of the of car to see just how environmentally friendly the car is. Being an electric car has allowed for the elimination of the gases which arise from the internal combustion engine. By analyzing the waste output of the Tesla Model S throughout its entire life cycle we understand how Tesla is pushing the electric car towards being the more environmentally friendly.
The raw materials needed to manufacture the Model S are acquired through several different fashions which leads to the various forms of produced waste in the process. One of the most common materials used in this model and other cars is aluminum. Aluminum is a key material needed in the car and can be extracted using the Bayer Process. By means of the Bayer Process, alumina, also known as aluminum oxide, is produced and will be used to construct the automobile. A caustic solution for digestion of trihydrate such as a caustic soda solution, a mixed solution of caustic soda and sodium carbonate, or a recycled caustic aluminate solution in the Bayer process . A red mud is created through the Bayer Process that is high in Silicon dioxide (SiO2) and must be reprocessed through other methods. This red mud is often thought of as the waste that comes with extracting the aluminum when it encounters water. Additionally, when humans are in the mines attempting to extract and locate the aluminum ores they can be exposed to it and become ill. The uptake of aluminum can take place through food, through breathing and by skin contact. Illnesses that arise from being exposed to high amounts of aluminum are: damage to the nervous system, dementia, loss of memory, etc. . Employees of companies that extract aluminum around the world are in risk of contracting these illnesses on the job. Like aluminum, nickel is another metal needed to be extracted from the Earth that also negatively affects those who mine it. An uptake of too large quantities of nickel has the following consequences: several different types of cancers, lung embolism, respiratory failure, birth defects, etc. . Exposure to the element comes at a huge risk for these workers and cause problems for their future generations. Animals around the refiners tend to be the most affected and they also develop various types of cancers from exposure to high levels of nickel. Another material needed to build the Model S is rubber. Rubber is a common material in most vehicles as it is used to make the tires. One of the most important materials in tires is carbon black, which is not eco-friendly. Carbon black, with the exception of chemically treated and water dispersible carbon black grades, is appropriately and most often disposed of in landfills. Carbon black is not biodegradable . Landfills are constantly filled with this as a byproduct of tires and this, as mentioned above, will not decompose into the Earth. Leather is also highly used in the Tesla Model S for its luxury looks; seats and other parts of the interior are wrapped in leather. Although the leather comes from animals, Tesla does not use the rest of the animal and thus must purchase the leather because it is not convenient to raise animals simply for leather. Acquiring these materials is only the first part because they still need to be shaped, processed, and manufactured before they could be used on the Tesla Model S.
Manufacturing of the Model S occurs within high efficiency factories designed with the environment in mind. There is currently one factory to produce all Tesla vehicles located in Fremont, California. This factory was acquired from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc and has since, underwent a lot of renovations to make it state of the art and green for the environment. We added skylights and high-efficiency overhead lights to brighten what was once a dark, enclosed space. State of the art robots now help us lift, turn, weld and assemble the aluminum occupant cell and body to extremely high tolerances . New technology is constantly brought into the factory, which reduces waste, stretching toward the zero-waste goal. Another factory in the process of construction to produce batteries is called the Gigafactory. Located in Sparks, Nevada, the massive factory’s goal is to have zero energy waste. The Gigafactory is aiming to run 100% on renewable sources of energy thus, like the Model S, producing zero emissions. Waste is minimized through all the efficient production processes to keep the car as carbon neutral as possible. Since the vehicles get produced here, the Model S must be transported great distances before it is ever sold or purchased.
The distribution and transportation of the Model S is cost heavy since they must be shipped long distances. Cars going across seas to other continents must be shipped in pieces rather than a completed vehicle for safety reasons. When the pieces arrive, they are assembled at a Tesla location in the desired country, which makes the waste that arise from the boat shipping across the ocean apart of the waste associated with the car. A solution to this waste is if Tesla opted to manufacture each car close to where it was being sold but Tesla chooses otherwise because it would reduce how much control they could have on the quality of the car. Cars shipped across the United States will likely experience being transported by a truck that has an internal combustion engine. These engines are inefficient and associated with a lot of waste. Only about 15 percent of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling . Along with all the waste produced from the engine, the trucks also require tire and part changes. The tires being changed add to the landfills, as previously mentioned, due to the carbon black they contain. Although this may not be direct waste from the vehicle it is nonetheless waste that arises from the transportation of each production of the Model S. Unlike internal combustion engines, electric engines have proven to be green and efficient while in use.
A benefit that comes with owning a Tesla Model S is that you are being environmentally responsible. The Model S is advertised as a car that releases zero emissions; burning fuel produces a variety of emissions, including sulfur, lead, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and water . Since the vehicle does not have an internal combustion engine it avoids emitting these gases, enabling zero emissions. The innovative electric motors now produce all the power of a gasoline engine without the waste that comes with it. During the use of the automobile it still needs to be serviced, just as any other car, but the parts being serviced are what makes it environmentally friendly. Due to the electric engine, there is no need for oil changes, trips to the gas station, etc. Even though this may be a benefit, it is not perfect. The Model S still needs other parts replaced such as tires, brakes, lightbulbs, etc. Waste still arises during the daily use of the car but it is lessened by not having to change gasoline engine specific parts. The waste that comes out of the Model S when being used is a minimum and nothing more than some basic repairs. Although, carbon black is still wasted when replacing all the tires. The zero emissions hold true with Tesla no matter how many times it is sold or driven. Throughout its life cycle, an electric car is at its most environmentally friendly state when it is being used. After the usage of the Model S it cannot be just left in a land fill, it must be taken apart and recycled.
The amount of parts of a Model S that can be recycled is often changing with the implementation of new technologies into the car. Hazardous cleaning chemicals are very common and are likely to require special waste management arrangements . All the aluminum and plastics must be taken apart for it to be recycled and thus the entire car cannot just be recycled. Aluminum can be recycled after it is melted down which allows for it to be purified and reshaped in too many different things. The properties of aluminum make it most valuable in the building and construction sector are its low density, its high corrosion resistance, and the design flexibility resulting from the ease with which aluminum can be extruded . Aluminum can be taken in to a broad amount of other business where it is used in abundance. Not much effort goes into aluminum to be reused aside from any paint removal that it may have so that it can be purified again and used just as if it were being used for the first time. Plastics on the other hand are not so easily recycled since they are not an element but rather a chemically created compound. A lot of the chemicals used to make plastics are not safe to burn due to the gases they release which increases the difficulty of using plastics. Disposing of plastics by burial in sanitary landfill, contrary to popular belief, is by far the safest method of dealing with waste plastics, since, due to the absence of oxygen, they do not oxidize or biodegrade under these conditions . Glass is another part of the Model S that can be recycled and used for other things once it is removed from the car. Using waste glass as a partial replacement for fine aggregate did not produce any notable change in the concrete color . This is one that glass can continue to be used after it is used in the windshield of a Tesla. By implementing glass into the production of cement it lowers the amount of waste that comes out of a Model S that is no longer in service. Although the car cannot be entirely recycled, there is still a fair amount of waste that is avoided through the separation of the Tesla.
The dismantling of Model S allows for more efficient waste management and leads to less waste. With all the recycled parts gone, the rest of the Model S can be disposed of properly.The Department of Energy recently awarded $9.5 million to a California-based recycling company to boost capacity for lithium-ion batteries, the kind used to power most of the new hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles entering the world market . The batteries used in the Tesla Model S are not yet recyclable and thus still must be taken apart and thrown away in an environmentally friendly way. Some of the elements used in making these batteries such as nickel and cobalt simply make these batteries too valuable to send to a landfill. Tires, as mentioned above, just must be thrown into a landfill since they cannot be recycled. Overall, there is still an ample amount of car parts that must be thrown away or are to environmentally unfriendly that they require other safer methods of being disposed.
Ultimately, the waste produced by the Tesla Model S throughout its life cycle is mostly limited when it is being manufactured and used. The “green” portion of the Model S comes from the high efficiency factories that allow for less energy to be used and the zero emissions from the car that help the keep the environment clean. Waste is produced throughout the entire life cycle of the car and some of the normal waste that arises from any vehicle are no different with the Model S. Tesla does its best to limit the amount of waste that arises from the car in their hands but in the end, they cannot control everything from how the raw materials are acquired to how it is dismantled and recycled. The Models S is an electric automobile that breaks barriers with their constantly innovating technology, limiting other electric cars, while still maintaining an environmental responsibility.
Robert M., Enick, Eric J. Beckman, Chunmei Shi, and Jianhang Xu. "Remediation of Metal-Bearing Aqueous Waste Streams via Direct Carbonation." Remediation of Metal-Bearing Aqueous Waste Streams via Direct Carbonation - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications). American Chemical Society, 2 Feb. 2001. Web. <http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ef000245x>