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Toyota Partners With Redwood Materials to Recycle EV Batteries

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Recycle EV batteries - rare earth metals
Photo: Toyota

Toyota has begun collaborating with Redwood Materials to recycle EV batteries. This is the latest in a string of partnerships between the recycling startup and battery manufacturers including Ford, Volvo, Panasonic, and Proterra.

Redwood Materials — founded by J.B. Straubel, Tesla’s former chief technical officer — will work with Toyota to recycle batteries into raw materials. Already, Redwood receives more than 6 GWh of end-of-life batteries annually, which it refines into critical battery materials such as copper, lithium, nickel, and cobalt.

Related: Toyota launches first-ever all-electric SUV

It then remanufactures these into anode copper foils and cathodes, which make up about two-thirds of the cost of the lithium-ion batteries common in most modern EVs. By 2025, Redwood plans to have ramped up battery component production to support building a million EVs per year.

“We are excited to be working with Redwood Materials to identify solutions for our electrified powertrains at the end-of-life that contributes to our vision of creating a sustainable, circular battery ecosystem,” said Christopher Yang, group vice president of Business Development at Toyota.

The Japanese automaker says that the collaboration will initially focus on collection, testing, and recycling of Toyota hybrid electric vehicle batteries. Later, it will work with Redwood Materials to “expand into other areas such as battery health screening and data management, remanufacturing and battery material supply through North America.”

Toyota recently announced an investment of $1.29 billion in a new North American battery plant that will produce battery packs for 1.2 million EVs per year. However, it has already been building hybrid electric vehicles using nickel metal hydride batteries for more than two decades. Once out of service, these batteries can be recycled and their materials reintroduced into the battery supply chain, reducing the reliance on mining rare earth metals.