VW Group Faces Large Cadmium Recall Tied To Electric Car Charger

AUG 7 2018 BY VANJA KLJAIC 31

The recall might envelop nearly as many as 124,000 electric and hybrid cars from VW, Audi, and Porsche

The report about the possible recall was first published by German a magazine Wirtschaftswoche, and later confirmed by the company itself. Volkswagen stated that they are currently in discussions with Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA), the German road authority, over the potential recall arising from a possible problem with poisonous cadmium. The report reveals that the toxic metal, which found its way into a charger component built for all three brands, could hit as many as 124,000 electric and hybrid cars from VW, Audi, and Porsche.

“A corresponding recall order by the KBA is currently in clarification,” – spokesperson for the German automaker reveals

While the KBA is pushing for the recall, the VW Group informs us that the issue wouldn’t affect the health of either the driver or the passengers. The cadmium is “installed in a solid housing inside the charger, which in turn is enclosed by a solid housing”. Furthermore, even though the toxic metal is both dangerous and a largely prohibited item in car parts, it is not used by the automaker itself. Last month, the German car maker informed KBA that the charger part contained 0.008 grams of cadmium per device.

The charger, supplied by a third party to the group, can be found in some off all-electric and plug-in hybrids made by VW, Audi, and Porsche from 2013 and up until last month.

Even though the low amount of cadmium is present and the sheer protective housing of the said material will ensure driver and passenger safety, the regulatory agency is pushing for a recall mostly due to where do the materials end up at the end-of-life for these vehicles.

All three affected brands have briefly stopped production of the affected vehicle models until the companies are able to source a new part. According to Volkswagen, the procedure of procurement for the said part is already done, and the production should be resumed shortly. The VW Group is yet to issue a recall to the owners of said vehicles. In reality, it should be easy for VW to replace the part. Nothing major controversy wise when compared to the dieselgate drama.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen

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31 Comments on "VW Group Faces Large Cadmium Recall Tied To Electric Car Charger"

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eject

Recalling 124k cars to remove 992g of Cadmium from circulation is nonsense. Just fine VW for being idiots and not checking their supply chain. In the US they still sell NiCd batteries. Collect 5 of those from a landfill. Much less effort, much more harm removed from the environment.

Benjamin

Yes, that’s why I don’t understand, Ni-Cad batteries are still sold here in the USA and there is a warning not to disposed of them in regular trash. Actually, one should not dispose of any type of batteries in regular trash.

Clive

True but few actually know this.

Mark.ca

“All three affected brands have briefly stopped production of the affected vehicle models until the companies are able to source a new part. ”
Will resume in 2020. It’s all good, in US they are irrelevant now anyway. A few more months til i return my eGolf and probably will never get another VW.

John Doe

In the US only 8 states follow the RoHS directive. . .

So cars and products could be full of lead, kadmium, mercury, flame inhibitors, plastic softeners and what not. And then the product would not have to be recycled, but could end up in a land fill..

California, Indiana, New Jersey and a few others are the exceptions. .

Mark.ca

So? VW is not selling the eGolf in US anymore so no worries….that was the point you missed.

John Doe

I know, they have lines of people waiting for it in Europe. Can not take care of demand. Hope the new model will be a volume seller.
We need more EVs on the road.

I was more shocked that 42 states does not follow the RoHS directive.

antrik

New model? You mean the I.D., or are you thinking of a hypothetical new e-Golf generation?…

As for RoHS, I always thought these EU regulations are overly bureaucratic… Just taxing the pollutants would be way simpler.

John Doe

Yeah I mean the I.D. I have started to feel the benefits of EVs a few times a week now – and also the low noice at low speed in nice.
Now I’m waiting for more electric vans, trucks and buses.

Have to pay more attention though, as I’ve been close to surf on the hood of a LEAF once. Out of the blue, they sneak up on you.. almost like The Sidler in Seinfeld.

A lot of the EU regulations are just bull, but some are useful – like the RoHS, to give people an environment without a lot of harmful substances.

antrik

I’m not saying it’s useless — very much the opposite. I’m just saying the way they are going about these issues is not very efficient…

eject

Cadmium is not banned under RoHS, it just limits the amount. This is under the limit.
Cars follow different regulations and you can’t use any Cd to manufacture cars.

John Doe
Yes, cadmium and other substances are allowed in limmited amounts under RoHS. Just like the copper in the windings of an EV motor may contain 4% lead. Automotive vehicles are exempt in general, but have to comply to the End of Life Vehicle Directive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_of_Life_Vehicles_Directive But at least European vehicles tend to follow RoHS for the electronics anyway, with a few exceptions. As long as they reduce dangerous substances, and recycle the products I don’t care. Just want it to be done properly, and not just being dumped in a landfill or exported to Africa. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/dec/14/toxic-ewaste-illegal-dumping-developing-countries Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mleQVO1Vd1I That is shocking, as I was in Ghana in the early 90ies, and was back in 2012. The changes in this area is just insane. It used to have a tropical rainforest that went all the way to the river. They are poisoning the ground water, their water sources, and the ground in general. It will seep out of centuries, even after they stop doing this. Follow the money, and check who is bribed in Ghana to allow this. They are poisoning their own people, and later – when this reach the ocean, it may affect people all over… Read more »
Paulo de Almeida

VW is stop selling the e-Golf after 2018 …with the new ID Neo there is no need or place for the e-Golf … the ID Neo will take its place as the top selling EV in its segment, at least in th EU.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

” even though the toxic metal is both dangerous and a largely prohibited item in car parts,”

Where’s the law that states this about automotive parts?

John Doe
It is not for cars in general, it is an EU regulation to prevent the use of dangerous substances in electronics, casings/chassis (heavy metals, some flame inhibitors and probably hormone disturbing substances like some plastic softeners and so on). So the solder on the PCBs have to be lead free, some capacitors had to use a different electeolyte and so on. Check out: https://www.kemi.se/en/directly-to/rules-and-regulations/rohs–electric-and-electronic-equipment In general it applies only to products sold in Europe. . . But many other markets have followed after, and have included the directives in their legislation. Would be cheaper and easier for VW to say that when the car has reached end of life, the return of said unit will be valued $250-500-750 depending on how quick it is to remove the electronics board / the unit. We get some recalls from work about usually electronics / PCBs that don’t comply to the RoHS directive. We replace boards on the manufacturers expence, which will again claim money from their supplier. In some cases, the boards will stay in the machine, and we will take them out, and send them to the manufacturer, when the product is ready for recycling. We get money for each board… Read more »
ffbj

Another fine of VW quality control. At least they did not intentionally put it there. The part can be removed and replaced and then disposed of properly.

Viking79

It would be far more harmful to the environment to swap these out for conforming chargers. It sounds like VW actually caught the issue, it was parts from its suppliers. As mentioned, 124,000 cars only contain 1kg in total contained in sealed boxes. Think of all the resources that would be wasted in a recall.

ffbj

Nonetheless, that is probably what will happen. Sealed boxes don’t stay sealed forever.
Besides they can make it on your next service, replacement, no need to be so concerned about driving to a service center as a big waste of energy. The parts are delivered as part of the normal delivery schedule.
That is what is most likely to occur.

Viking79

A handful of NiCd batteries (still sold in most places) would contain more cadmium than the 124,000 VW cars. How many people have thrown an electric razor in the trash without removing the battery? Those were cadmium containing up until a few years ago, some might be still.

Making 124,000 chargers costs a lot of money, probably $100 million. That represents a very substantial environmental impact. Employees going to work, copper being mined from the ground (not really pleasant), aluminum, steel, distribution, let alone replacement effort, if it takes 1 hr per charger to replace at $150/hr that is another almost $20 million going to VW dealers, mechanics, etc. That money will be spent on things causing environmental impact as well. My hunch is the cost of the recall would add more than 1 kg of cadmium back in somewhere else.

Fine and move on.

Windbourne

Think of all the money that it costs VW to outsource to China.

JR

I few year ago was discussion about cadmium DK, if you eat to much dark chocolate, you get to much cadmium, there is from 30 to 250 milligram of cadmium in 1 KG of Dark Chocolate.

eject

But there is no law for chocolate to be Cd free. There is for cars.

John Doe

In the EU, there was passed laws about that too in 2014, and by January next year stricter rules will apply. By 2022, the rules may be even stricter, and cadmium content may have to be printed on the wrapping of food products.

Beans from Peru have a particularly high cadmium content, due to a higher cadmium content in the soil, and prices they get may be inpacted by the cadmium content.

The US has no limit on cadmium content in chocolate, but California demand products to have a warning label if content for a daily serving is above a certain limit.
https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2017/07/04/High-cadmium-levels-in-cocoa-from-Peru-may-impact-chocolate-quality

Consumer groups have started to test chocolate products, and sales tend of be lower for the brands with the highest content. They may source more cocoa beans from a different location, to reduce the content.
https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2018/04/06/Forbrugerraadet-Taenk-tests-dark-chocolate-for-cadmium-lead-and-mineral-oils

Viking79

Yes, but forcing a recall would do more harm than good to the environment. Apply a fine that VW would pass on to the supplier. Be done with it.

John Doe

A recall of the product would make no sence. They should demand a very high return rate of the part, when the car is worn out. The fine should be based on each item not recycled properly.
The supplier should pay an amount that could be used as an incentive to return used parts (when the car is ready for scrapping).
At work we get about $100-400 for each PCB that is returned to the manufacturer. I’m sure they could offer the same, or more.

Gasbag

“But there is no law for chocolate to be Cd free. There is for cars.”

…and Cadbury’s and Pb cups continue to be sold to this day!

Windbourne
Bill Howland

1 kilogram of Cd – how HORRID !!!! Another reason for VW to delay EV production for a few more years.

How much pollution is generated doing the recall, or the use of additional safe resources to make duplicate, unneeded charging products.

No doubt they need years of ‘charger production’ to replace all the HORRID chargers in place. So they are totally justified in stalling again. I wonder what VITAL PROBLEM they will find 3 years from now as to why they can’t make ev’s?

Paulo de Almeida

You missed your pills once again … sure there is some one nearby that can help you, call 911.

Windbourne

LOL. It really pays to outsource to china.

Paulo de Almeida

Paraphrasing someone else’s
“As regards 8mg of cadmium inside a relay that no user is likely to actually touch, let’s just do a back of the envelope. According to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go…, the average human has 15mg of cadmium in their body already from ingestion of food. A lifelong smoker has 30mg. By ingesting 8mg (assuming that our mechanic breaks open the relay housing, finds the cadmium and swallows it), only 5% of the 8mg (or 0.4mg) is actually absorbed by the body, bumping up the body content to 15.8mg on average. That’s scarcely pandemic, run-away panic-inducing stuff, although of course it should have a program to replace the relays during regular service visits. Doubt it really warrants a recall, to be honest.”