Volkswagen (VW) and Audi have joined Redwood Materials to recycle their electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The company was set up by Tesla Co-Founder JB Straubel and focusses on creating a closed-loop supply chain to make EVs more sustainable and cut the need for new materials to be mined and sourced.
More than 1,000 US dealerships of the German carmakers will work with Redwood Materials, shipping used battery parts to its facilities in Nevada to recycle them.
Redwood claims that it can recover up to 95% of the high-value materials in lithium-ion batteries, to be turned into new anodes and cathodes.
Lithium, nickel, cobalt and any other metals and minerals used in building EV batteries is what gives them a large environmental footprint, as mining for these parts is not only a finite process but is also a laborious one.
Straubel is optimistic his company can help to lower the need for mining by taking out the metals and ensuring they’re reusable for new cars.
Aside from the environmental argument, EV production has slowed drastically in the last year due to supply chain issues – as these materials have become harder to mine and more expensive. COVID-19 and the Ukraine War have been key drivers in this.
Straubel said: “As more and more batteries reach end-of-life each year, an increasing and infinitely recyclable resource becomes available.”
VW and Audi are looking to ramp up EV development, with VW specifically stating that it believes 55% of its sales in the US will be driven by EVs by 2030.