Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Herndon, Virginia, and Redwood Materials Inc., a sustainable materials manufacturer based in Carson City, Nevada, have partnered to create a supply chain to recycle Volkswagen and Audi electric vehicle (EV) batteries in the United States.
The goal is to provide accessible and more sustainable electric mobility for American drivers. The two say by advancing Volkswagen’s strategy to localize all competencies for its electric transformation, and Redwood’s goal of creating the nation’s only closed-loop supply chain for lithium-ion batteries, the collaboration represents a crucial step in growing North America’s domestic EV industry.
“For Volkswagen, going all-in on electrification means driving sustainable solutions at every turn,” says Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Inc. “Redwood Materials is a great partner to help us accelerate EV adoption in America. This collaboration allows us to move closer toward our goal of closing the loop for a circular EV economy, giving American consumers yet another reason to go electric.”
The new EV battery recycling collaboration will be facilitated by Volkswagen’s nationwide network of about 1,000 dealers, starting with the Volkswagen and Audi brands. The collaboration can support local battery capacity and expertise by allowing for more sustainable utilization of battery components from the moment vehicles leave the assembly line through the end of their lifecycle.
As Volkswagen Group brands plan to introduce more than 25 new battery-electric vehicles to American consumers through 2030, Volkswagen aims to establish battery recycling capabilities for current and future vehicles in North America now. In addition, the new EV battery recycling collaboration will integrate prototype batteries from Volkswagen’s research facilities like the Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) in Chattanooga. Redwood Materials will work directly with dealers and Volkswagen facilities to identify end-of-life batteries and materials and safely package and transport them to its Nevada facilities.
“The electric transformation means making commitments in many areas throughout our business,” says Daniel Weissland, president of Audi of America. “In addition to our robust lineup of fully electric Audi e-tron models available now, having like-minded partners like Redwood Materials in place to further reduce environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of every electric vehicle is critical.”
Redwood says it recycles more than 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries, the equivalent of 60,000 EV batteries, in Nevada annually. The batteries that come to Redwood are composed of end-of-life consumer devices, battery production scrap and electric vehicle batteries.
The company extracts raw materials like cobalt, copper, nickel and lithium, refines and remanufactures them into critical battery components, anode copper foil and cathode, before delivering those products back to domestic battery cell manufacturers.
“The transition to electric transportation and clean energy is coming and the batteries powering these technologies present an incredible opportunity,” says JB Straubel, Redwood Materials Founder and CEO. “As more and more batteries reach end-of-life each year, an increasing and infinitely recyclable resource become available.”
The two say the partnership reflects a shared vision for a circular EV economy that, if adopted in the industry, could reduce battery costs and the need to mine and ship raw materials.
Volkswagen Group of America says it is aiming for 55 percent of its U.S. sales to be fully electric by 2030. To meet this goal, the company is transforming the North American region into an industrial EV center. This will feature localized EV engineering and research and development, EV assembly and component production and dedicated battery cell production.