Rad Power Bikes links up with Redwood Materials for e-bike battery recycling

Rad Energy Bikes is partnering with Redwood Supplies, a battery firm based by a former Tesla govt, to recycle e-bike batteries once they attain the tip of their lifespan.

Prospects will have the ability to convey of their depleted batteries to Rad Energy Bikes’ retail places, after which the corporate will ship them to Redwood Supplies for processing and recycling. (Rad at present operates 10 retail and repair places in North America.) Choose Rad shops in California and Washington will even function drop-off places for previous smartphones, laptops, and tablets, for Redwood’s rising shopper e-waste assortment program.

It’s a noteworthy deal contemplating that Rad Energy Bikes is the primary vendor of electrical bikes in North America. The corporate has been on the forefront of the e-bike increase because the covid pandemic and has distinguished itself with its fat-tired e-bikes with large batteries and cargo-carrying capability.

Redwood Supplies was based in 2017 by Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, a former chief expertise officer of Tesla. Along with breaking down scrap from Tesla’s battery-making course of with Panasonic, Redwood additionally recycles EV batteries from Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Specialised, Amazon, Lyft, and others. The corporate additionally produces cathode and anode elements for its battery prospects.

Redwood Supplies was based in 2017 by Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, a former chief expertise officer of Tesla

Redwood has mentioned it may possibly recycle and reuse greater than 95 p.c of the vital metals discovered within the lithium-ion batteries it collects, together with nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminum, lithium, and graphite. Rad Energy Bikes founder and chair Mike Radenbaugh mentioned Redwood Supplies was an interesting companion as a result of it purports to do every little thing — course of the battery, recycle the fabric, provide new battery elements — that historically takes a number of stakeholders to perform.

“A number of applications… the batteries are altering palms just a few totally different occasions earlier than they get to the recycler,” Radenbaugh mentioned in an interview. “And there’s some efficiencies that may be misplaced there. We now have sufficient quantity the place we will drive this program with Redwood to show you mainly have a giant environmental affect right here.”

Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Individuals who personal e-bikes have comparatively few choices when their bike batteries attain the tip of their lifespan. Like different e-bike producers, Rad Energy Bikes’ batteries sometimes final 800 charging cycles, or round 5 to seven years. With no well-defined assortment and recycling course of, most of these batteries simply find yourself in a landfill — an end result that Radenbaugh mentioned his firm is making an attempt to keep away from.

The corporate has piloted the battery assortment course of at a handful of its places and was happy sufficient with the outcomes that it determined to scale as much as all of its shops. “It’s an in-store expertise solely presently,” Radenbaugh clarified. Meaning prospects who don’t reside near a Rad Energy Bikes retail location received’t have the ability to submit their batteries for recycling.

Individuals who personal e-bikes have comparatively few choices when their bike batteries attain the tip of their lifespan

For Redwood Supplies, the partnership with Rad Energy Bikes will even assist construct help for its budding shopper e-waste assortment program. The corporate at present operates assortment websites at a number of auto dealerships, together with Volkswagen and Audi; Rad’s retail places will assist develop that footprint much more.

After receiving batteries from its numerous companions, Redwood begins a chemical recycling course of, wherein it strips out and refines the related components like nickel, cobalt, and copper. A sure share of that refined materials can then be reintegrated into the battery-making provide chain.

Redwood can be positioning itself as an important participant within the effort to bolster the US’s home battery provide. At the moment, many of the batteries that go into every little thing from shopper items like laptops and telephones all the way in which as much as electrical automobiles are made abroad, largely in China. The Biden administration is searching for to shore up home battery manufacturing by way of the Inflation Discount Act, which supplies $10 billion in incentives for corporations that construct batteries within the US. And Redwood simply scored a $2 billion mortgage from the Division of Power to assist enhance its operation.

Redwood has mentioned it started manufacturing anode copper foil at its Nevada facility late final 12 months, and is on monitor for manufacturing later this 12 months of cathode supplies, which include all of the vital metals in a battery, like lithium, nickel, and cobalt. The anode incorporates copper and graphite and is primarily answerable for a battery’s charging efficiency. The corporate says it hopes to supply sufficient battery supplies to energy 1 million EVs a 12 months.

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