Redwood will be the designated recycler for all VW EV batteries in North America, as well as those from the Audi luxury brand, the companies said Tuesday in a press release. Redwood said it will work directly with VW dealers to recover batteries after they’ve ended their useful lives in EVs. Those batteries will then be shipped to facilities in Nevada for recycling.
Redwood claims it can recover more than 95% of metals, including nickel, cobalt, lithium, and copper, from batteries. That matches a goal set by VW for battery recycling last year. And recovered materials will be used to manufacture new anode and cathode components that will be supplied to cell manufacturers in the United States, Redwood claims.
Ford and Toyota have also teamed up with Redwood for battery recycling, and the company claims to handle the majority of current lithium-ion battery recycling in North America. Redwood claims to handle 6 GWh of batteries annually, with substantially larger amounts possible as its partner automakers ramp up production of EVs.
As more EVs reach North American roads, Redwood envisions a larger stockpile of recyclable battery packs, with materials recovered from those packs driving down the cost of new vehicles. The battery recycling industry won’t reach those volumes right away, though.
Founder and Tesla veteran JB Straubel has said that most EV batteries will last 15 years, so the recycling portion of the industry has a little time to ramp up. Overall, it’s a “less sexy” but super-important part of the industry as EVs become the future.