Ford signs deal with Redwood Materials to recycle EV Batteries 

Dane Components (right), Ford style and design and launch engineer, and Mary Fredrick, Ford battery validation engineer, evaluate the voltage of a battery working with a digital multimeter at Ford’s Battery Benchmarking and Examination Laboratory in Allen Park, Michigan.


Ford is partnering with battery recycling begin-up Redwood Materials to reuse the raw components from EV battery packs.  

The settlement, which will start out at first with recycling scrap material from battery producing, is the newest indicator automakers are taking ways to handle the source and expense of raw resources desired to manufacture batteries for electrical vehicles.

“It will assistance us cut down the reliance on importing a large amount of the materials that we use right now when we make the batteries, and then it’s going to minimize the mining of raw materials, which is going to be extremely significant in the future as we get started to scale,” explained Lisa Drake, Ford’s chief functioning officer. “Producing this domestic source chain is seriously a important stage in the direction of earning electrical motor vehicles much more cost-effective and extra accessible to all people.”

With EV gross sales in the U.S. anticipated to jump from an approximated 350,000 autos in 2021 to more than a million each year by 2025, according to the investigation firm LMC Automotive, automakers are significantly targeted on the daily life cycle of EV batteries. 

Tesla, which recycles batteries from its motor vehicles, addresses the concern on its internet site expressing, “none of our scrapped lithium-ion batteries go to landfilling, and 100% are recycled.” GM is functioning with Canada centered Li-Cycle to recycle scrap content from the manufacturing of Ultium battery cells.

Ford’s deal with Redwood Elements could gain both of those businesses as the selection of EVs continues to mature. Ford and its battery production husband or wife SK Innovations will safe a constant, and most likely rising, offer of crucial products this kind of as lithium, nickel and copper important to manufacturing EV battery packs. Redwood Products will receive battery packs that will be recycled, with the vital things then transported back to Ford to be reused in potential EVs.

“We are setting up and deploying around a little extra than 2.000 batteries on to the roads in The us, every single day,” stated JB Straubel, founder and CEO of Redwood Products. “We have to have to at least be scheduling to figure out how we can really effectively and sustainably recycle and disassemble a very similar amount of batteries.”

In the beginning, Redwood will be recycling scrap substance it receives from Ford at its services in Carson Town, Nevada. Over time, as Ford and SK Innovation insert plants, it is doable Redwood Products will build new recycling centers nearer to the battery producing plants.

On paper, Ford’s battery recycling system helps make sense. But making certain there is a ongoing loop will involve Ford to monitor what happens to its EVs lengthy soon after they have been offered. A tall activity due to the fact motor vehicles usually have two or 3 house owners ahead of they hit the end of their life, and when that takes place the EV is possible to conclusion up at a scrap garden. The remedy could be necessitating automakers to track EV batteries.

“It is definitely probable for the automaker to shepherd that battery by means of its lifetime, and get it to the recycling heart,” claimed Sam Jaffe, handling director of Cairn Electricity Research Advisors.

Jaffe, who tracks the EV battery marketplace, states recycling is having maintain in Europe due to the fact automakers have a authorized obligation to promise the battery will be recycled. “The batteries get to the scrap yards, the automaker will select them up and provide them in to centralize them and then mail them to recycling,” he reported. The force to increase recycling in the EU is 1 rationale Volkswagen and Peugeot have rolled out smaller recycling operations on the continent.

For now, Ford has not recognized a definitive system for building certain battery packs at the conclude of their lives are recycled, but Drake admits the monetary advantage of recycling batteries is substantial. “If we can recapture that worth and not have to mine once again and have some domestic supply security, which is amazingly useful for us,” she reported all through a briefing saying the partnership. 

EV battery recycling has not acquired additional interest in the United States in significant aspect because the number of electric motor vehicles reaching the finish of their life stays comparatively smaller. That will modify around the upcoming 10 many years as the field ramps up EV manufacturing.   

AlixPartners, an vehicle sector consulting business, states investments in battery output will make up nearly a quarter of the $330 billion being used to acquire and build electrical autos from 2021 by means of 2025.   Ford has fully commited to shell out $22 billion as a result of 2025 acquiring EVs, like the F-150 Lightning. First deliveries of the all-electrical pickup truck are scheduled for early next calendar year.

Ford is among a number of organizations that have invested in Redwood Elements, which has elevated much more $800 million around three rounds of funding. Straubel says need for uncooked materials will carry on to expand, so recycling alternatively of mining will develop into a smart transfer for automakers.   

“It can ease the will need for importing a lot more of these supplies from overseas and can alleviate the will need and the pressure on ramping up mining,” he claimed.

— CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this report