Ford has tapped startup Redwood Supplies — run by former Tesla chief know-how officer JB Straubel — to deal with the recycling of its electrical automobile batteries. The 2 firms additionally plan to make use of this new partnership to assist construct out the battery provide chain in the US, which is one thing that the Biden administration has confused as a objective.
As a part of the deal, Ford is investing $50 million into Redwood Supplies, which Straubel mentioned is a part of the startup’s recently announced $700 million funding round.
This isn’t the primary buyer Redwood Supplies has lined up — Straubel’s startup already recycles batteries from Nissan, Specialised (which has an growing variety of e-bike batteries), and scrap from Tesla and Panasonic on the authentic Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. (Redwood Supplies is headquartered simply south of the manufacturing unit in Carson Metropolis.)
However with Ford, Redwood Supplies is trying to be extra deeply built-in than only a recycling companion. Straubel’s startup is working with the Detroit automaker to determine plans for every part from serving to to course of scrap materials, to discovering new life for worn-down batteries with ample capability remaining, to serving to Ford create new batteries out of salvaged lithium, nickel, cobalt, and copper.
The businesses have been mild on specifics, however the overarching objective is one which Straubel has talked about often since founding Redwood Supplies. The thought is to create a “round” or “closed loop” system the place the stuff that makes up lithium-ion batteries will get recycled and reused, which may theoretically drive down the price of an EV’s battery whereas decreasing the automaker’s reliance on imported supplies and (sooner or later) mining.
The take care of Ford may present lots of alternative for Redwood Supplies to work all that out. Like a lot of its rivals, Ford is now deeply dedicated to electrical autos. It launched the Mustang Mach-E earlier this yr and has an all-electric model of its F-150 coming in 2022, and people are simply the primary two flagships of an impending fleet of EVs coming from the automaker within the subsequent decade. As a part of that push, Ford can be planning to construct batteries with South Korea’s SK Innovation in the US.
Ford’s not alone, although. Normal Motors — which can be within the midst of an enormous push into electrical autos — not too long ago tapped Canadian company Li-Cycle to recycle the scrap waste from the batteries it’s going to make with SK Innovation’s rival, LG Chem.