[OMAN] Electric car early adopters in oil-poor Jordan are now having to grapple with the thorny question of battery disposal, as demand for the technology accelerates across the region.
It’s eight years since Jordan first began to import electric cars – the first country in the Middle East to do so – meaning battery warranties are now starting to expire.
“Failure to comply with international standards for the proper disposal of electric vehicle batteries leads to serious environmental impacts, such as their vulnerability to spontaneous ignition or the release of harmful chemicals,” says Mohamad Khawaja, head of the department of energy engineering at the German Jordanian University.
“Failure to comply with international standards for the proper disposal of electric vehicle batteries leads to serious environmental impacts, such as their vulnerability to spontaneous ignition or the release of harmful chemicals.”
Mohamad Khawaja, head of energy engineering, German Jordanian University
Jordan was an early adopter of electric vehicles as, unlike its neighbours, the country is not an oil producer.
The country first started importing electric cars in 2015 and its National Green Growth Plan approved in 2017 aimed to promote their use.
However, many owners still lack awareness of how to dispose of the battery packs.
Khawaja was one of the researchers involved in a study published in the Journal of Energy Storage, on the environmental impacts of energy storage waste and regional legislation to mitigate against these.
“Policies in Jordan are not completely clear on how to dispose of electric vehicle batteries,” he told SciDev.Net.
These concerns come as the region as a whole witnesses rising demand.
Sales of electric vehicles across the Middle East and North Africa jumped from about 1,300 cars in 2017 to around 19,000 in 2021.
By 2026, sales in the region are expected to double to 45,000, in line with the global trend towards clean energy, and efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
In December, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hyundai Motor Company to build an electric car plant, in line with the kingdom’s goals to reduce carbon emissions.
Rusul Al Shihab, director for the environmental movement Earth Day in the Middle East and North Africa, says that the trend towards electric cars has proven effective in reducing emissions, though “still in its infancy in the region.”
Al Shihab believes that more studies will be needed to find out the true environmental impact of electric vehicles, “and to look at the experience of the countries that preceded us in producing and deploying them”.
January 13, 2023