Electric vehicles accounted for 5.6 percent of U.S. light-vehicle registrations last year, up from 3.1 percent a year earlier, according to Experian. New EV registrations surged 57 percent to 756,534 last year.
Redwood's limited pilot shows the potential for battery pack recycling as EV sales increase. The company is building a closed-loop recycling system to lower EV costs and counts major automakers and battery manufacturers, such as Ford and Panasonic Holdings Corp., as its partners.
Redwood worked with California auto dealers, dismantlers and aggregators to recover 1,268 end-of-life battery packs weighing half a million pounds. Less than 5 percent of those packs were damaged, defective or recalled, Redwood said.
The battery packs came from 19 battery electric and hybrid models by more than a dozen automakers, Redwood said. More than 80 percent of the batteries were lithium ion.
Logistics — transporting the spent batteries safely — is the most expensive part of battery pack collection and recycling, but increasing end-of-life battery volume will make electric vehicle battery recycling profitable, the company said.
The results of the program in California demonstrate strong demand for responsible end-of-life battery management, Redwood said.
"As policymakers across the nation consider proposals to ensure responsible [end-of-life] management of batteries, we encourage them to incentivize responsible recycling here in the U.S., similar to the policies established by the [Inflation Reduction Act]," the company said in a statement. "We also urge policymakers to be mindful that, while still in the early stages, market forces and industry partnerships are already at work to create safe, efficient, and sustainable pathways for end-of-life batteries."
Redwood received a conditional commitment last month for a $2 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to help build its $3.5 billion battery recycling complex in Nevada.