Sindre Dranberg, who has worked at a Volkswagen dealership in Oslo since the 1980s, underwent training to service electric-vehicle batteries. Was it difficult to make the switch? “No,” he said, as he replaced defective cells in a Volkswagen e-Golf.
Electric vehicles are creating jobs in other industries. In Fredrikstad, 55 miles south of Oslo, a former steel plant has become a battery recycling center. Workers, including some who worked at the steel plant, dismantle battery packs. A machine then shreds the packs to separate plastic, aluminum and copper from a black mass that contains crucial ingredients such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite.
The factory, owned by Hydrovolt, is the first of several the company plans to build in Europe and the United States. So far, there is not much to recycle, but eventually recycled batteries could greatly reduce the need for mining.
“If we can take the active material that already is within the product and create new ones, then we create a shortcut,” said Peter Qvarfordt, the chief executive of Hydrovolt, a joint venture of the aluminum producer Norsk Hydro and Northvolt, a battery maker.
If anyone has to worry about their jobs, it’s car dealers. The almost complete disappearance of gasoline and diesel vehicles from showrooms has reordered the industry.