A long line of successful executives have moved on from Tesla to focus on their own, often related, projects. Tesla co-founder JB Straubel recently joined the list of departures to start a battery recycling facility called Redwood Materials. Now, Ford has announced it will partner with the company, and the Big Three automaker has already invested $50 million.
Ford's plan to join hands with Redwood Materials will start a partnership focused on eliminating lithium-ion battery waste, as well as reusing various battery materials. While Redwood initially announced that it's specifically a battery recycling company, it more recently explained that it will work to create a domestic supply chain for battery materials. More specifically, Redwood will also produce EV battery cathodes and other battery-related components using the recycled materials.
So far, there are few details about the partnership, and it's not yet off the ground. Ford and Redwood are clearly in the early stages here. Nonetheless, Ford CEO Jim Farley shared via a statement published by Automotive News:
"Our partnership with Redwood Materials will be critical to our plan to build electric vehicles at scale in America, at the lowest possible cost and with a zero-waste approach."
As EV batteries become more scarce, it's companies like Redwood Materials that may be able to alleviate the shortage, as well as reduce prices. Ford plans to bring its F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup truck to market in the near future, and it's expanding its electric portfolio with a $30 billion investment between now and 2025. It seems the automaker is taking the necessary steps to assure it won't have to deal with constraints related to batteries as it ramps up its efforts.
Redwood Materials has explained that its battery recycling system can make use of an average of 95 percent of necessary elements, such as cobalt, copper, lithium, and nickel. Ford's North American COO Lisa Drake said, according to Automotive News:
"This approach will help ensure valuable materials in end-of-life products reenter the supply chain and do not wind up in landfills, reducing our reliance on the existing commodities supply chain that will be quickly overwhelmed by industry demand."