Redwood Materials, a battery recycler created by Tesla cofounder and former tech chief JB Straubel, is adding Toyota to a growing list of global automakers its working with to recycle aging batteries.
The joint venture will initially focus on monitoring, recovering and recycling old batteries from Toyota’s Prius, and many other hybrid-electric vehicles they make including Lexus models. Redwood’s facilities are based in northern Nevada, and the company will also be exploring other uses for old Toyota battery packs. This includes the potential to reuse them within new hybrids.
No financial details have been shared of the project although they have already begun collecting Toyota batteries.
“We’re excited about this one,” Straubel said. “It has a massive potential impact (for Redwood) when you look at the existing fleet of electrified Toyotas on the road. It’s really big. And they are steadfast. They’ve had a few twists and turns in their path to electrification, but I’m convinced that they’re moving forward aggressively on this now and will continue to do so.”
Redwood has also said that they will be working with Ford and Volvo Cars, collecting and recycling their old EV packs, and is working with Panasonic and lithium-cell maker Envision AESC.
Redwood has estimated that it is processing more than 6 GWh of aging batteries annually and the numbers are still rising. From the batteries they recover, it resells enough metals and materials including lithium, Colbalt, copper and nickel, to make battery packs for up to 100,000 new EVs.
The company plans to start making anode and cathode components at a U.S plant for 100GWh of batteries by 2025, or enough for 1 million EV’s a year. By the end of the decade, they hope to increase this number to 5 million EVs annually.
The development of recycling such materials comes as a new push for the mobility industry to be solving the long-term challenge of finding enough materials to supply all the batteries needed as the auto industry shifts from petrol powered vehicles to electric.