Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) and Redwood Materials announced a collaboration on recycling Volkswagen and Audi electric vehicle batteries in the United States.

Redwood Materials, the company headed by Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, will remanufacture battery materials from VW and Audi EVs in a domestic supply chain as part of the companies' stated goal to provide accessible and more sustainable electric mobility for American drivers.

Given Redwood's goal of creating the nation's only closed-loop supply chain for lithium-ion batteries and Volkswagen Group of America's strategy to localize all major competencies for its electric transformation, the automaker says the collaboration represents a crucial step in growing North America's domestic EV industry.

"As more and more batteries reach end-of-life each year, an increasing and infinitely recyclable resource becomes available. Redwood and Volkswagen Group of America share a vision to create a domestic, circular supply chain for batteries that will help improve the environmental footprint of lithium-ion batteries, decrease cost and, in turn, increase access and adoption of electric vehicles."

JB Straubel, Redwood Materials Founder and CEO

VWGoA's nationwide network of approximately 1,000 dealers will facilitate the new EV battery recycling collaboration. Redwood Materials will work directly with dealers and Volkswagen facilities to identify end-of-life batteries and materials, and then safely package and transport them to its Nevada facilities.

The lifecycle of an EV battery

In addition, the collaboration will integrate prototype batteries from Volkswagen's research facilities such as the Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Each year, Redwood recycles more than 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries, the equivalent of 60,000 EV batteries. The batteries that come to its Nevada facility originate from end-of-life consumer devices, battery production scrap, and electric vehicle batteries, and represent the large majority of lithium-ion batteries recycled in North America today.

Redwood Materials then extracts raw materials such as cobalt, copper, nickel and lithium, refines and remanufactures them into critical battery components, anode copper foil and cathode, and delivers those products back to domestic battery cell manufacturers. 

The battery recycling initiative will support Volkswagen Group's plan to introduce more than 25 new battery electric vehicles to American consumers through 2030 and have 55% of its US sales fully-electric by the end of the decade.

To achieve this electrification goal, the automaker says it is transforming the North American region into an industrial EV powerhouse, featuring localized EV engineering and R&D capabilities, EV assembly and component production for its brands, and plans for a dedicated battery cell production.

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