Nearly three decades later, the first-generation Toyota Prius faces the inevitable conclusion of its lifecycle. As these early hybrids either retire or inch closer to their lifespan limit, Toyota has found a solution—they're joining forces with Redwood Materials to give these aging batteries a second life in upcoming electrified vehicles.
Originally committing to supply end-of-life battery-powered vehicles to Redwood Materials, Toyota has now expanded the collaboration. The new deal involves sourcing cathode active material and anode copper foil from Redwood Materials, a move that reflects Toyota's commitment to sustainability and responsible end-of-life management.
Cal Lankton, Redwood Materials’ Chief Commercial Officer, expressed the significance of Toyota's move, stating, "Today, in collaboration with Redwood Materials, Toyota is making a decisive move toward a sustainable future. They’re not only working to ensure responsible end-of-life management for their electric vehicles but also planning to build their next generation of EVs, in part, by using sustainable and domestically manufactured battery components."
Anticipating a battery lifecycle ecosystem that encompasses recycling, re-manufacturing, and repurposing around 5 million operating units, Toyota is strategically tapping into its own fleet of hybrid vehicles for much of the recycled material.
Redwood's Nevada recycling facility is expected to receive many of these Priuses at the end of their lifecycle. The recycled parts will then find their way to Toyota's upcoming battery manufacturing facility in North Carolina.
Toyota emphasizes that beyond the environmental advantages, this collaborative decision holds the potential to reduce production costs and localize its supply chain. Furthermore, it positions Toyota to potentially qualify for tax credits in the United States.
Sean Suggs, president of Toyota’s North Carolina battery plant, expressed enthusiasm about acquiring battery components and materials from Redwood Materials, reinforcing Toyota's commitment to sourcing and recycling battery materials to minimize their carbon footprint.