KTM: Managing the life cycle of e-bike batteries

The e-bike boom in Austria has gone hand in hand with a rising number of e-bike batteries. Together, KTM and ARA ensure the proper recycling of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and the recovery of materials like cobalt, nickel, manganese and lithium.

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E-bikes are a green means of transport. They have been trending for years in Austria, and the industry has seen a steady increase in sales. Every year, the Austrian market leader, KTM, manufactures and sells more than 50,000 e-bikes on the domestic market.

The growing number of e-bikes in use has led to a rise in the number of lithium-ion batteries that power them. High-profile manufacturers like KTM place their trust in name-brand batteries with an expected life of around 2,000 charging cycles (roughly 50,000 km or about 5–6 years).

Proper collection and storage are key

If damaged, stored incorrectly or handled improperly, batteries can be a hazard, which poses a particular challenge for e-bike manufacturers and shops. In 2017, the Austrian Environment Ministry issued an ordinance to address the treatment of spent lithium-ion batteries, among other things (Abfallbehandlungspflichtenverordnung). The ordinance specifies obligations for businesses regarding the secure collection and storage of these batteries.

KTM trusts in ERA

KTM ensures compliance with these obligations by placing their trust in our subsidiary ERA, a WEEE recycling specialist. We have been KTM’s one-stop shop for the collection, storage and recycling of e-bike batteries for many years. Together with our strong network of partners, we make sure the valuable materials in these rechargeable batteries are reprocessed safely and in an eco-friendly manner. This is how we keep the materials in circulation.

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“Working with ERA has always been a pleasure – our cooperation is open, transparent and smooth. The batteries and our products are recycled and sent for reuse, which is what matters to us. It’s good for the environment, good for business and good for all of us.”

Stefan Limbrunner

Executive Director, KTM Bikes

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Project lead: Thomas Maier