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System Shock: OARA’s high-voltage training at Carcone’s

On August 12 and 13, auto recycling professionals from around Ontario arrived at Carcone’s Auto Recycling in Aurora to learn about how to safely dismantle fully electric and hybrid vehicles.

The event was organized by Steve Fletcher, the executive director of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association.

According to Fletcher, the training is essential for all vehicle recyclers as more high voltage vehicles arrive in recycling yards.

The two one-day Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board-accredited courses were delivered by British auto recycling figure Andy Latham, the managing director of Salvage Wire.”There are a number of risks in terms of the EVs, which include, electrocution, the risk of fire and chemical risks,” says Latham, who has been studying EV recycling for the past five years. EV batteries are much heavier and more powerful than those used in gas-powered vehicles.

Where a standard vehicle battery weighs less than 100 lbs (45 kg) and issues a 12.6-volt current, electric vehicle batteries can weigh up to 1,200 lbs (500 kg) at 800 volts. The difference in strength can be a matter of life and death, as a 60-volt current can be fatal.

“Several recyclers have reached out to me to find out more about how to deal with EVs,” said Fletcher. “Given the response, we may have to get Andy back in the near future.”

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