Redwood Materials, Tesla co-founder JB Straubel's battery recycling company, has launched what it calls "the most comprehensive vehicle battery recycling program" with direct support from Ford Motor Company and Volvo Cars.

Kicking off in California, the program aims to establish efficient, safe and effective recovery pathways for end-of-life hybrid and electric vehicle battery packs.

In addition to used batteries supplied by Ford and Volvo, Redwood Materials will accept all lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries in the state, welcoming other automakers to join the program.

In a press release, Redwood Materials highlights the fact that electric vehicles cannot became sustainable and affordable without proper recycling of their battery packs.

"To truly make electric vehicles sustainable and affordable, we need to create pathways for end-of-life battery packs to be collected, recycled and remanufactured into new battery materials. Scaling production of EVs, increasingly from recycled materials, domestically, is the only way we can create a circular and, therefore, sustainable and secure supply chain to meet the US' electrification plans."

Gallery: Ford Focus Electric battery removal

The company says it processes 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries or the equivalent of 60,000 EVs annually—most of the recycled lithium-ion batteries in North America today. It adds that it is prepared for the first major wave of end-of-life electric vehicles to come off roads and is ready to support the battery market in identifying and creating pathways to collect battery packs.

Redwood Materials has chosen California because it is the oldest and one of the largest electric vehicle markets on earth, which means that when the first major wave of EVs begins to retire from roads, it will happen in California.

In a short statement, Ford CEO Jim Farley highlighted the importance of battery recycling for the company.

"We are excited to be strengthening our partnership with Redwood Materials in identifying solutions for electric vehicle batteries that have reached the end of their useful lives. This new program with Redwood Materials will help Ford lead America's transition to sustainable and carbon-neutral EV manufacturing and ultimately help make electric vehicles more environmentally responsible and affordable for our customers."

Redwood will work directly with dealers and dismantlers in California to identify and recover end-of-life packs, which will then be safely packaged, transported, and recycled at its facilities in neighboring northern Nevada. The next step will be to return high quality recycled materials back into domestic cell production.  

The company's goal is to demonstrate the value of end-of-life packs and ultimately create "the most effective and sustainable closed-loop system that physics, and chemistry will allow for end-of-life battery packs to re-enter the domestic supply chain."

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