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June 21, 2022

Toyota joins battery recycle project

Redwood Materials partners include Ford and EV battery maker Panasonic.

By Graeme Roberts

US startup Redwood Materials reportedly said Toyota Motor had become the latest auto industry giant to join its comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling and remanufacturing initiative.

Redwood Materials partners include Ford and EV battery maker Panasonic and it is building a closed loop battery ecosystem aimed at lowering EV costs by lessening dependence on imported materials while also reducing the environmental impact. read more

The five year old company has focused initial work at a 175-acre campus in northern Nevada, and plans to build another complex in southeastern United States, its chief executive and founder, JB Straubel, told Reuters in an interview.

The new facility would be able to supply Toyota’s planned $1.3 billion battery plant in North Carolina, as well as Ford’s planned battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky with SK On, a subsidiary of South Korea’s SK Innovation.

Reuters said Redwood Materials was ramping up production of anode and cathode components to 100 gigawatt-hours by 2025, enough to supply batteries for 1m EVs a year, then to 500 GWh by 2030, enough to supply 5m a year or more, Straubel, a co-founder of Tesla, told the news agency.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has said the EV maker expects to build up to 20m EVs a year by 2030 while total global EV production including Tesla could reach as much as 40m, industry forecasters said.

Straubel said Redwood Materials was having “various discussions” with Tesla but had no deals to announce yet. Tesla’s partners also include Panasonic.

Toyota has been building hybrid electric vehicles under the Prius name for more than two decades. With a car’s average lifespan roughly 12 years, some early Prius models will be reaching the end of their useful lives.

Once out of service, their nickel metal hydride batteries can be recycled and materials such as nickel and copper reintroduced into the battery supply chain, where they can supplement raw materials from mines.

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