Redwood Materials

EV battery recycler

1 minute read

Even as he was helping to launch the electric-car revolution, Tesla co-founder J.B. Straubel was thinking about what would ultimately happen to the valuable nickel, cobalt, and lithium in battery packs. Redwood Materials, which he founded in 2017, is helping to create a circular battery economy that shrinks the environmental footprint of EVs. Its proprietary process mines up to 95% of key elements from used batteries, as well as other minerals. In Straubel’s view, the startup is developing the business and engineering plan for “the inevitable future” of EV batteries, which will serve to drive down their cost—and therefore the cost of EVs—by returning materials to battery manufacturers. In January, Redwood broke ground on its second facility, a $3.5 billion plant in South Carolina. The company received a $2 billion Department of Energy loan, and the substance of Straubel’s vision has attracted many big-name customers, including Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi, Panasonic, and Lyft. Last year, Redwood signed a long-term agreement to recycle Toyota’s spent EV batteries and make them into new components.

Correction, May 30
The original version of this story misidentified Redwood's customers. It works with Toyota, Volkswagen, and Audi, not Nissan.

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