Tesla Could Be Starting Up A New Recycling Company

Two big names from Tesla are linked to a recycling company called Redwood Materials. While it's not directly linked to the car manufacturer based on initial reports, all signs point to them working together to recycle products.


May 24 2019, Updated 6:53 a.m. ET

Tesla has a lot on their plate with production of the Model 3 coming later this year, but it looks like a few big names from the company are involved in an additional side project. In a report from CB Insights, the manufacturer is linked to a recycling company called “Redwood Materials.” While there’s no direct link, it’s assumed that both Tesla and the new company would make a great pairing.

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Information in the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing includes an anonymous investment of $2 million and the company is established in Redwood City, California. The two Tesla workers tied to the other company are Jeffrey Straubel, chief technical officer, and Andrew Stevenson, president of special projects.

Andrew J. Hawkins of The Verge details a hint from the company’s CTO, who has talked about recycling Tesla’s car parts in the past, explaining, "Straubel, who is overseeing the supply chain at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada, has also expressed interest in mineral recycling. Last year, he spoke about how Tesla plans to recycle the batteries in its electric vehicles and reuse the materials."

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The website is pretty basic as of right now. A pale, grey background is the wall behind a few statements and a logo. There are two circular arrows pointing toward each other in a reusable motion, with “Redwood Materials” under it. In the middle of the page, it says, “Unlock the value of your materials. Advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.” Anybody that is interested in future content can click on the “Get Notified” box where they can enter their email and send a message.

It’s unknown whether or not this new company will be part of Tesla, but it certainly opens up some conversations. Both Straubel and Stevenson are listed as executive officers and directors on the SEC filing. The industry isn’t classified yet -- it’s simply marked as “other.” Funding for the company took place on April 17th.

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We can’t assume anything when considering Strubel’s other involvements, such as another startup he’s invested in, Axiom Energy. That company is involved with storage systems, mainly refrigeration for grocery stores. Clearly, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the electric vehicle industry.

However, recycling materials sounds like it fits right at home with the vision of Tesla. As the car aims to be environmentally efficient with less carbon dioxide emissions, it would only make sense for the company to recycle and reuse products from their vehicles. Fred Lambert of Electrek emphasizes the potential for this new company.

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"While managing a supply chain of mining companies is undeniably part of it, Tesla always made it clear that recycling will also account for a significant part in the long-term as battery packs are depleted and can be reuse to make new ones. Right now, it’s only a small part of the business since most of Tesla’s packs are less than 5 years old, but 10, 15, or 20 years from now, the company will likely have a constant supply of old battery packs with minerals potentially worth thousands of dollars and much more easily accessible."

With higher production level of Model 3 cars, it only makes sense that Tesla will be recycling parts and batteries. The company plans to push production from five-digit numbers all the way to the one million mark by 2020.


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