Redwood Materials Inc., the battery recycling company created by Tesla Inc. co-founder J.B. Straubel, has been keeping a big secret: It isn’t really a recycling company.
Sure, Redwood has risen quickly to become the biggest lithium-ion battery recycler in the U.S.. But Straubel didn’t leave Tesla in 2019 just to clean out America’s junk drawers. His broader goal, described to Bloomberg for the first time, is to move a huge chunk of the battery-component industry from Asia to the U.S.
“It’s both inspiring and terrifying to see so many nations and car companies announcing their shift to electric vehicles,” Straubel said. “But there’s a massive gap in what needs to happen.”
To fill that gap, Straubel has set out to build one of the largest battery materials factories in the world. Redwood, which currently operates three facilities in Nevada, is searching for a location farther east to build a new million-square-foot factory. At a cost of well over $1 billion, according to Straubel, the addition will enable Redwood to become a major U.S. producer of cathodes.
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