Ford and Redwood Materials logos
Ford and Redwood Materials

Ford, Redwood Materials partner to expand battery recycling and supply chains

The companies want to make electric vehicles more sustainable, affordable and accessible to Americans.

September 22, 2021

Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Michigan, and Redwood Materials, Carson City, Nevada, are working together to build out battery recycling and a domestic battery supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs). The companies report that their goal is to make EVs more sustainable, drive down the cost for batteries and help make EVs accessible and affordable to Americans.

According to a joint news release from Ford and Redwood Materials, the companies are collaborating to integrate battery recycling into Ford’s domestic battery strategy. The companies say Redwood’s recycling technology can recover, on average, more than 95 percent of elements in EV batteries, such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper. The companies report that these materials can be reused in a closed loop, with Redwood moving to produce anode copper foil and cathode active materials for future battery production.

Additionally, by using locally produced, recycled battery materials, Ford says it can drive down costs, increase battery materials supply and reduce its reliance on imports and mining of raw materials.

“Ford is making electric vehicles more accessible and affordable through products like the all-electric F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit, and much more to come,” says Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “Our partnership with Redwood Materials will be critical to our plan to build electric vehicles at scale in America at the lowest possible cost and with a zero-waste approach.”

Ford reports that it is investing more than $30 billion in electrification through 2025, including the collaboration between Ford and Redwood, which will help deliver on the company’s plans to localize its battery supply chain. Ford had previously announced plans to scale battery production through multiple BlueOvalSK battery plants in North America sometime in the next few years. BlueOvalSK is the U.S. joint venture that Ford and SK Innovation intend to form, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions.

In addition, Redwood recently announced plans to produce strategic battery materials, supplying anode copper foil and cathode active materials to U.S. partners. Redwood plans to transform the lithium-ion battery supply chain by offering large-scale sources of these domestic materials to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of EV production. The local supply of these two materials is a key part of Ford’s commitment to reduce the environmental impact of battery manufacturing and continue to ramp up electric vehicle production in the U.S.

“We are designing our battery supply chain to create a fully closed-loop life cycle to drive down the cost of electric vehicles via a reliable U.S. materials supply chain,” says Lisa Drake, Ford’s North America chief operating officer. “This approach will help ensure valuable materials in end-of-life products reenter the supply chain and do not wind up in landfills, reducing our reliance on the existing commodities supply chain that will be quickly overwhelmed by industry demand.”

Redwood Materials is creating a circular supply chain for batteries and helping partners across the electric vehicle and clean energy industries by providing pathways, processes and technologies to recycle and remanufacture lithium-ion batteries. “Increasing our nation’s production of batteries and their materials through domestic recycling can serve as a key enabler to improve the environmental footprint of U.S. manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries, decrease cost and, in turn, drive up domestic adoption of electric vehicles,” says JB Straubel, Redwood Materials CEO. “Redwood and Ford share an understanding that to truly make electric vehicles sustainable and affordable, we need to localize the existing complex and expensive supply chain network, create pathways for end-of-life vehicles, ramp lithium-ion recycling and increase battery production, all here in America.”

Ford and Redwood also have a long-term plan to work together on the best approach to collect and disassemble end-of-life batteries from Ford’s electric vehicles for recycling and remanufacturing to help reduce the cost associated with battery repairs and raw materials to manufacture all-new batteries.

“Our work with Redwood will, by design, help ensure the infrastructure is in place to cost-effectively recycle end-of-life Ford batteries to create a robust domestic materials stream and drive down the cost of electric vehicles,” Drake says.

To further advance these business opportunities, Ford reports that it invested $50 million into Redwood Materials to help the company expand its footprint in the U.S.