Volkswagen may have to recall electric cars over 'toxic' metal


Volkswagen has announced that it may be forced to recall 124,000 electric and hybrid cars due to the presence of cadmium in the batteries.


Cadmium is an element used in electric car batteries and it can be a carcinogenic metal, in the vehicles.


Volkswagen maintains that the affected cars do not pose any immediate danger to drivers, explaining that the metal is well-insulated from any possible contact with the atmosphere. A VW spokesman said:


"Clarification is under way for a recall order by Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority."


Cadmium is a metal used in many electric appliances such as televisions but it is banned in most types of car parts. Despite this ban, an unidentified supplier has delivered a batch of battery chargers containing cadmium, which has been installed in some electric and hybrid cars of the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands between 2013 and June 2018.


As a result of this recall, production and delivery of the concerned models had been halted immediately on discovery but production has since resumed after the affected components were replaced by cadmium-free parts provided by another supplier. Cars that had already been manufactured and delivered are still subject to the recall though.


VW had detected the problem and on 20 July informed the authorities about the battery chargers, each of which contains 0.008 grams of the metal.


Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the body's cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.


Cadmium is a naturally occurring toxic heavy metal with common exposure in industrial workplaces, plant soils, and from smoking. Due to its low permissible exposure to humans, overexposure may occur even in situations where trace quantities of cadmium are found.