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E-mobility having a ripple effect on global e-scrap industry

Increasing electric vehicle sales are changing the landscape of the electronics waste stream. Not only are modern-day cars equipped with state-of-the-art navigation and entertainment systems, their batteries also rely on charging cables.

Global electric vehicle (EV) sales reached a record-high of 6.9 million in 2021, a 107% increase from 2020. A total of 3.5 million (51%) of these were sold to China. Total sales for 2022 are expected to surpass 10 million units, up 57% compared to 2021 results. Looking further ahead, IDTechEx predicts 25% growth in the electric car market over the next decade.

The global electric vehicle charging cable market was valued at US$ 670 million in 2021, and is projected to reach US$ 3.5 billion by 2031. This represents a compound annual growth rate of over 18% during the forecast period.

There has been an uptake in charging cables at public hotspots, such as gas stations and offices, as well as at private residences. In the wake of this, various websites and apps have been constructed to allow users to find the nearest charging location.

EV cables are made to be abrasion-resistant, thermal stress-resistant and flame-resistant. Materials commonly used in manufacture include; cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), TPV, TPU, EPR, PVC/HNBR, silicone, and CPE/CR. Although no lifecycle studies are available yet, industry sources estimate these cables will last up to ten years. The warranty typically ranges from 2-5 years.

The high-voltage EV cable can deliver charging power up to 500 KW. Leading carmakers say this means an EV battery can be fully charged within 30 or even 10 minutes.

Ongoing developments in fast charging technology have seen many countries and municipalities embrace electric public transport. This widespread interest in e-mobility has further increased the demand for EV charging cables.

While most of the conversation has revolved around how to best recycle car batteries, it’s worth noting related products such as worn out cables and outdated charging stations will one day end up at the recycling yard, too.

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