The first generation Toyota Prius debuted almost 30 years ago. As a result, many of these vehicles have either reached or are approaching the end of their useful life, making them suitable candidates for scrapping. The batteries that powered those early hybrids will find new uses in Toyota's next generation of electrified vehicles, thanks to a newly established partnership with Redwood Materials.
Toyota previously agreed to supply used battery-powered vehicles to a car recycling company.. Now, thanks to the new agreement, the automaker will also purchase cathode active material and anode copper foil from the company.
Toyota expects the battery lifecycle ecosystem it is building with Redwood to include the recycling, remanufacturing and repurposing of approximately 5 million vehicles.. Most, although not all, of this recycled material will come from the company's own fleet of hybrid vehicles.
Since so many Priuses are sold in California, many of them will end up at the Redwood recycling plant in Nevada at the end of their life.. Parts made at this facility will then be shipped to Toyota's battery plant under construction in North Carolina.
The automaker emphasizes that this solution will help reduce production costs and localize the supply chain. In addition to environmental benefits, the move could potentially make Toyota vehicles eligible for tax breaks in the United States.
“We are thrilled to be procuring critical battery components and materials for use in our battery ecosystem,” said Sean Suggs, president of Toyota's North Carolina battery plant.. “We will continue to work to source and recycle battery materials here in the United States to maximize these precious resources and reduce carbon emissions in the process.”