HERNDON, Va., CARSON CITY, Nev., July 12, 2022 – Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) and Redwood Materials, Inc. (Redwood) today announced their collaboration to create a supply chain to recycle Audi and Volkswagen electric vehicle batteries in the United States, with the goal of providing accessible and more sustainable electric mobility for American drivers. By advancing Volkswagen Group of America’s strategy to localize all major competencies for its electric transformation, as well as 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.
“The electric transformation means making commitments in many areas throughout our business,” said Daniel Weissland, president, Audi of America. “In addition to our robust line up 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 electric vehicles is critical.”
The new EV battery recycling collaboration will be facilitated by VWGoA’s nationwide network of approximately 1,000 dealers, starting with the Audi and Volkswagen brands. Key to the collaboration is a holistic approach to the battery lifecycle. By allowing for more sustainable utilization of battery components from the moment vehicles leave the assembly line through the end of their lifecycle, the collaboration can support local battery capacity and expertise as Volkswagen continues its transition to an electrified portfolio.
Audi has one of the largest and most robust fully electric model lineups, including the e-tron SUV, e-tron Sportback, and e-tron GT/RS e-tron GT, with more to come, making a premium all-electric future a reality today. As Volkswagen Group brands plan to introduce more than 25 new battery electric vehicles to American consumers through 2030, VWGoA aims to begin establishing 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 such as 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 then safely package and transport them to their Nevada facilities.
“The path to a more sustainable future requires innovative solutions,” said Spencer Reeder, director, Government Affairs and Sustainability, Audi of America. “The partnership with Redwood Materials offers a groundbreaking vision for helping to ensure electric vehicles operate not only without tailpipe emissions, but with a renewable purpose.”
Each year, Redwood already recycles more than 6 GWh of lithium-ion batteries, the equivalent of 60,000 EV batteries in Nevada. The batteries that come to Redwood are composed of end-of-life consumer devices, battery production scrap, and electric vehicle batteries, and represent the large majority of lithium-ion batteries recycled in North America today. Redwood then extracts raw materials such as cobalt, copper, nickel, and lithium, refines and remanufactures them into critical battery components, anode copper foil and cathode, and delivers 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. As more and more batteries reach end-of-life each year, an increasing and infinitely recyclable resource becomes available”, said JB Straubel, Redwood Materials founder and CEO. “Redwood and Volkswagen Group of America share a vision to create a domestic, circular supply chain for batteries that will help improve the environmental footprint of lithium-ion batteries, decrease cost and, in turn, increase access and adoption of electric vehicles.”
The collaboration of Volkswagen Group of America and Redwood Materials reflects a shared vision for a circular EV economy that, if adopted across the industry, could help reduce battery costs and the need to mine and ship raw materials.
By 2025, Audi of America is aiming for 30% of its product portfolio in the U.S. market to consist of electrified vehicles, including fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Additionally, Audi is working to achieve CO2 neutrality across the full life cycle of its vehicles by 2050. To achieve these goals, the company is pioneering programs, partnerships, and processes that drive towards its core sustainability targets and simultaneously inform Audi’s global sustainability efforts. Audi of America will continue to focus on three key action areas: climate change, waste reduction/resource conservation, and environmental programs.
Volkswagen Group of America is aiming for 55% of its U.S. sales to be fully electric by 2030. To achieve this goal the company is transforming the North American region into an industrial EV powerhouse, featuring localized EV engineering and R&D capabilities, EV assembly and component production for its brands, and plans for a dedicated battery cell production.