Lyft and Redwood Materials team up to recycle shared e-bike and e-scooter batteries
Lyft is partnering with Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company founded by former Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, to ensure the batteries in its fleets of shared e-bikes and scooters don’t end up in landfill at the end of life.
The news, reported by The Verge, comes the same week that Lyft ended its dockless bike and scooter sharing in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, citing a desire to enter into long-term contracts with a limited number of operators. Lyft also ended its scooter-sharing operations in San Diego earlier this year amid several cost-cutting and restructuring measures that focus Lyft more firmly on the ride-hail.
While the release of these cities might suggest more are to come – and so Lyft will need a responsible way to dispose of its vehicles, lest we have another Uber-Jump dump pile-up situation. -dump- Lyft’s entrenched bike-sharing programs, particularly CitiBike in New York City, continue to thrive. Lyft started randomly introducing pedal-assist e-bikes in New York in 2019, and the company says its bikes have a five-year lifespan, so at least some of its e-fleet is approaching the end of life.
The partnership with Redwood is the recycling startup’s first formal foray into shared micromobility. Redwood is known for breaking down waste from Tesla’s battery partnership with Panasonic, as well as recycling batteries from Ford, Volvo, Toyota, Nissan, Specialized and others. The company has moved from simply recycling to producing critical battery materials, and last week signed an agreement with Panasonic to do just that, supporting a national North American supply chain for electric vehicles.
As part of its partnership with Redwood, Lyft will collect discharged batteries through its operations team and ship them to Redwood’s Nevada facility. Redwood will decide on the amount of reusable battery, then begin a chemical recycling process, which removes and refines nickel, cobalt and copper, which can ideally be used to make new batteries.
Jackson Switzer, senior manager of business development at Redwood, told The Verge that about 130 e-bike batteries can provide enough metals to make a new EV battery. All of Redwood’s recycling is done domestically, which is a step up from battery materials sent overseas to be broken down and remanufactured, ultimately returning to the United States.