Redwood Materials, founded by Tesla co-founder and former CTO JB Straubel, is launching the most comprehensive electric vehicle battery recycling program, beginning in California, to establish efficient, safe and effective recovery pathways for end-of-life hybrid and electric vehicle battery packs.
Ford Motor Company and Volvo Cars are the first automakers to support the program directly, but Redwood will accept all lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries in the state.
California has always been a leader in the transition to electric transportation and, as a result, is the oldest and one of the largest electric vehicle markets. When the first major wave of EVs begins to retire from roads, it will happen in California.
When Redwood first announced its partnership with Ford last year, the company said that the initial workstream was to collaborate to determine how to create pathways together for Ford and Lincoln electrified vehicles to come off the road at the end of their lives and be recycled and manufactured into battery materials to make more, locally manufactured, electric vehicles. Volvo, while a new relationship, is similarly focused on ensuring responsible and secure pathways for end-of-life batteries.
Redwood will work directly with dealers and dismantlers in California to identify and recover end-of-life packs. Redwood will then safely package, transport, and recycle these batteries at its facilities in neighboring Northern Nevada, and then return high quality, recycled materials back into domestic cell production.
Overtime, as EOL packs scale, Redwood expects these batteries to become valuable assets that will help make EVs more sustainable and affordable.
Panasonic will be the first partners who expect to source Redwood’s copper foil. The partnership with Panasonic began in 2019 and since, Redwood has been recycling all Panasonic’s manufacturing scrap from the Tesla Gigafactory. That material will now be recycled, and the copper contained will be remanufactured into anode foil and returned to Panasonic at the Gigafactory. This will mark the first time batteries will be recycled, remanufactured and then returned to the same factory in a fully closed loop, Redwood noted.
As part of the copper foil facility and expanded recycling operations, Redwoods expects to invest $1 billion in Northern Nevada over the coming years and hire more than 500 people at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center site.
Redwood is actively searching for another battery materials campus, focused on cathode production, which it plans to announce this year. At that site, Redwood will spend upwards of $2 billion and scale cathode production to 500 GWh or five million electric vehicles by 2030.