Electric cars

Electric vehicle batteries should last 15 years, says former Tesla CTO Straubel

Electric vehicle batteries should last 15 years, says former Tesla CTO Straubel

Typically, electric vehicle batteries last longer and travel more miles than originally intended.

According to former Tesla CTO and co-founder JB Straubel, EV batteries are expected to last about 15 years – a key piece for Straubel’s current business timeline, redwood materialsis ramping up as part of a recycled materials supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.

Currently, however, most EV battery warranties or insurance are much less than this. One of the boldest claims is that of Toyota and its upcoming bZ4X – which it will keep 90% of its battery capacity after 10 years property

Tesla CTO JB Straubel and CEO Elon Musk at gigafactory tour, Reno, Nevada, July 2016

Last May, California proposed a battery durability and degradation requirement: that EV batteries for model year 2026 and later retain 80% of their original range for 15 years or 150,000 miles. In one draft payment form Released by CARB in December, this requirement was significantly reduced after automakers petitioned — to 80% for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The battery commentary was just a small part of an interview earlier this month with author and energy expert Daniel Yergin, as part of IHS Markit’s CERAWeek 2022,

In it, Redwood CEO Straubel pointed out that the raw materials that go into EV batteries are different. They’re needed, but they’re not actually consumed, so the whole supply chain needs to be redesigned around a closed loop and something close to full recovery.

redwood materials

redwood materials

Between 50% and 70% of the cost of the lithium-ion battery is in “strategic materials”, he explained, and not in manufacturing, and for this reason Moore’s law does not apply to batteries. . He noted that recycling was going to be the future for the way nearly all materials move, and cost reductions in that supply chain are key to reducing battery costs.

Straubel also pointed out that this is very different from recycling plastic bottles in your kitchen. Redwood is looking at how to link recycling directly to manufacturing.

Visiting mines and seeing the scale and immensity of the challenge of increasing their capacity by an order of magnitude helped Straubel realize the burden and need for salvaged materials to reach the scale of a chain of mines. supply of electric vehicles, he explained.

redwood materials

redwood materials

“We basically need to build a non-manufacturing infrastructure of the same scale that we had to build to manufacture them in the first place,” he stressed. Currently, Redwood processes between 8 and 10 GWh per year, which is enough for the batteries of hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles, although, according to market research firm Wood Mackenzie, the battery recycling industry will not grow exponentially until 2030.

Redwood has already faced some challenges: finding enough experts in electrochemistry and metallurgy, fields that have largely moved overseas. And automating the sorting of various types of batteries and chemicals is particularly difficult.

Straubel notes that the target customer is also changing due to the rush to secure the supply chain. Whereas a few years ago, customers might be cathode manufacturers or battery manufacturers, today, due to strategic material needs, their customers may be OEMs. like Ford– which, in turn, could buy back the materials for their vehicles’ batteries.

We’ve embedded the interview below, and it’s worth it.