Last year, Toyota announced a collaboration with Redwood Materials to create a closed-loop battery recycling solution. This started with collecting and recycling Toyota’s hybrid batteries. Now, the partnership is expanding – Toyota will source cathode and anode materials from Redwood for their upcoming North Carolina battery manufacturing plant.
This represents the first time an automaker is both recycling old hybrid batteries and using those recycled materials in new EV batteries. Redwood aims to produce cathode and anode, which make up most of a battery’s cost, domestically with increasing amounts of recycled content. For Toyota, Redwood is targeting minimums of 20% recycled nickel, 20% recycled lithium, and 50% recycled cobalt in the cathode and 100% recycled copper in the anode.
Toyota is both recycling end-of-life hybrid electric vehicle batteries, like those used in the Toyota Prius, and then returning those same recycled metals into that same automaker’s batteries for use in future electrified and all-electric vehicles.
Redwood plans to invest billions of dollars scaling up to 100 GWh annual cathode and anode production at facilities in Nevada and South Carolina. Ramping up a domestic supply chain using locally recycled materials is the best way to meet U.S. electrification goals. Toyota working with Redwood shows they are seriously thinking about EVs despite pushing hybrids publicly.
Publicly, Toyota has been pushing more hybrids to consumers while talking down pure EVs. But their partnership with Redwood suggests Toyota is secretly plotting an EV comeback. If so, Tesla needs to stay on their toes and keep innovating.
Tesla has led in EV innovation so far, but they need to keep refreshing their lineup and launching exciting new models. Just as people love new shiny tech gadgets, car buyers crave the latest sleek and exciting EVs. Toyota is coming for Tesla’s EV crown – to keep it, Tesla must wow consumers with a constant stream of cutting-edge and visually appealing new EVs.