Redwood Materials is launching the most comprehensive EV 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 directly support the program, but Redwood says it will accept all lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries in the state from other automakers.
To make electric vehicles sustainable and affordable, there need to be pathways for end-of-life battery packs to be collected, recycled and remanufactured into new battery materials. Scaling production of EVs, increasingly from recycled materials, domestically, is the only way to create a circular and, therefore, sustainable and secure supply chain to meet the US’ electrification plans, Redwood says. While the first major wave of end-of-life electric vehicles is still a few years away, Redwood and its initial partners at Ford and Volvo are committed to creating these pathways now.
Annually, 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries or the equivalent of 60,000 EVs, come through Redwood’s doors – most of the recycled lithium-ion batteries in North America today.
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 on earth. 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.
Last year, Redwood announced it would produce strategic battery materials in the US, supplying battery cell manufacturing partners with anode copper foil and cathode active materials. In January 2022, the company announced that its anode copper foil facility at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center will be complete within months and that it will begin producing and delivering product to customers in the first half of this year.
Over the next few years, Redwood will ramp copper foil production to 100 GWh or 250,000 km of product annually—enough copper foil to build more than one million electric vehicles a year.