In a recent announcement on its official website, Tesla co-founder JB Straubel’s battery recycling company, Redwood Materials, revealed that it is partnering with Volkswagen Group of America to recycle end-of-life batteries from VW and Audi EVs. The initiative is expected to help electric cars become more environmentally friendly.
According to Redwood, it would be working directly with Volkswagen Group of America’s network of over 1,000 dealers to recover, transport, and recycle end-of-life battery packs from Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. The company estimated that it could recover over 95% of the high-value metals used in the automakers’ battery packs, such as nickel, cobalt, and copper.
Thanks to Redwood’s innovations, these recovered materials could then be used in the production of new battery anodes and cathodes for manufacturers in the United States. Such a system could also push the battery industry closer to a closed-loop supply chain, where practically all the materials used in new packs are retrieved from recycled batteries.
So far, Redwood noted that about 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries already come through its doors annually. This is enough to build battery packs for about 60,000 electric vehicles. The batteries that would be supplied by Volkswagen and Audi from its EVs could then help Redwood recover even more materials that could be used in the production of new packs.
“Our partnership with Volkswagen Group of America will increase what’s available for Redwood to recycle so that we can make even more sustainable and affordable battery materials. As more and more electric vehicles reach end-of-life, their battery packs will provide a sizeable, infinitely recyclable resource that can continue to make EVs more and more sustainable and affordable,” Redwood noted in its announcement.
Battery recycling is a crucial component of a sustainable future. The mining and manufacturing of batteries is labor intensive, and it is responsible for a substantial amount of the emissions associated with EV production. It’s also expensive, often accounting for about 20-30% of an electric vehicle’s overall cost.
The use of recycled battery components addresses these issues. Thus, deals with electric vehicle makers such as Volkswagen and Audi ensure that companies like Redwood Materials could continue to push the battery industry into a cleaner, more affordable system.
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