Volkswagen and Audi tap Redwood Materials to recycle old EV batteries in the US – TechCrunch

Volkswagen of America and Audi have locked in a resurrection plan for old battery packs on their growing roster of electric vehicles.

The two VW Group brands have contracted with startup Redwood Materials to collect and recycle end-of-life EV batteries from its network of thousands of dealerships in the United States.

This won’t be the final resting place for EV packs. Instead, Redwood will take the packs to its factory in Carson City, Nevada, where more than 95% of the metals found in these batteries – including nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper – will be recovered and used to remanufacture the anode and cathode components. These components will be returned to US battery cell manufacturers like its current partner Panasonic.

Under the agreement, the new EV battery recycling collaboration will also incorporate prototype batteries from Volkswagen’s research facilities such as the Battery Engineering Lab in Chattanooga.

Securing the supply of batteries – or the materials to make them – has prompted the auto industry to partner with cell makers and turn to companies like Redwood Materials. Although Redwood is certainly not the only battery recycler, it is one of the most popular. It has also expanded into the battery material production sector.

The company announced in September 2021 plans to build a $2 billion plant that will produce cathodes and anode foils up to a planned volume of 100 gigawatt hours per year of materials; that’s enough for one million electric vehicles, by 2025. In January, Panasonic said Redwood would start supplying it with copper foil produced from recycled materials, a critical component on the anode side of a cell. battery.

Redwood Materials has entered into partnerships with a number of battery suppliers and automotive manufacturers over the past two years. It’s struck deals with Ford, Amazon, Toyota and other yet-to-be-named companies — contracts that translate to 6 gigawatt hours of lithium-ion batteries rolling through the gates of the Redwood, Nevada plant today. That’s enough to build more than 60,000 electric vehicles, according to the company. Redwood also plans to expand and add another plant on the east coast to better serve Toyota and other regional partners.

The agreement with Volkswagen of America and Audi further expands its market share in North America. Volkswagen of America and Audi did not disclose the volume of batteries that will be sent to Redwood. If automakers meet their EV targets, it promises to dramatically increase their business; Volkswagen Group of America aims to have 55% of its sales in the United States be fully electric by 2030.

“The transition to electric transport and clean energy is approaching and the batteries powering these technologies present an incredible opportunity. As more batteries reach end of life each year, a growing and infinitely recyclable resource becomes available,” Redwood Materials Founder and CEO JB Straubel said in a statement. “Redwood and Volkswagen Group of America share a vision to create a national circular battery supply chain that will help improve the environmental footprint of lithium-ion batteries, reduce costs and, in turn, increase the access and adoption of electric vehicles.

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