Ford has announced a partnership with Redwood Materials to recycle electric vehicle batteries. The automaker is investing $50 million in the startup, whose co-founder and CEO is Tesla's former chief technology officer JB Straubel. Redwood, which also recycles batteries for e-bike company Specialized, will use the funds to expand its manufacturing facilities.
The companies say the deal will make EVs more sustainable and affordable by bringing the battery supply chain closer to home. They plan to increase battery production in the US, something the Biden administration is looking to do to reduce dependency on imports from countries such as China.
Recycling batteries in a closed loop will help reduce costs and benefit the environment, as Ford will rely less on imports and the mining of raw materials. Redwood claims it can recover 95 percent of elements such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper on average using its recycling technology. The company reuses those materials to make anode copper foil and cathode active materials for new batteries.
Ford announced the financial backing as part of its plan to invest over $30 billion in electrification by the end of 2025. The company recently said it would spend another $250 million to ramp up production of the in-demand F-150 Lightning EV.
In May, Ford revealed plans to make EV batteries at BlueOvalSK plants in North America by the middle of this decade. BlueOvalSK is a joint venture Ford plans to form with SK Innovation, pending approval.