Toyota is partnering with Redwood Materials, a battery recycling firm helmed by Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, to gather and recycle vehicle batteries. The plan is to take previous, worn-out batteries and both refurbish them or break them down so their supplies can be utilized to create new batteries.
Redwood specifically plans on producing materials for anodes and cathodes — two major components of a battery cell. The firm’s final objective is to create a “closed-loop supply chain for electric vehicles,” which means that it takes batteries from previous EVs and turns them into batteries for brand new automobiles.
While Toyota is at the moment launching its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, newer automobiles aren’t the present focus of the partnership’s efforts, on condition that their batteries are nonetheless comparatively new.
Instead, Toyota and Redwood are specializing in “the first wave of battery-electric vehicles,” that are over 20 years previous and nearing their finish of life. Mostly, which means first-generation Toyota Priuses in California. Redwood says that sooner or later, it desires to have some operations close to “Toyota’s recently announced North American battery plant” on the East Coast, possible referring to the one in North Carolina.
Notably, Redwood’s tech and strategies for recycling vehicle batteries aren’t precisely tried-and-true. The firm just launched its program to deal with end-of-life electric automobiles in February, with Ford and Volvo as companions. While Redwood’s been planning to deal with batteries from automobiles for some time, its capability to take action at scale is comparatively untested.
On Tuesday, the corporate says it receives round six gigawatt-hours value of batteries a yr for recycling — it hopes to be producing 100 GWh value of elements by 2025 and 5 occasions that by 2030.
Those plans appear bold, to say the least. But as Bloomberg points out, there’s plenty of incentive. Making EV batteries is extraordinarily costly, and a few corporations are struggling to do it at scale, which hampers their skill to make EVs. It doesn’t look like that course of is going to be getting cheaper any time soon, so there may be undoubtedly incentive for automakers to search for and assist fund recycling efforts.