Tesla aims to recycle batteries at all its Gigafactory locations

Tesla aims to recycle batteries at all its Gigafactory locations, according to its 2021 Impact report. 

“We intend to tailor recycling solutions to each location and thereby re-introduce valuable materials back into our manufacturing process,” noted Tesla in its 2021 Impact report. “Our goal is to develop a safe recycling process with high recovery rates, low costs and low environmental impact. From an economic perspective, we expect to recognize significant savings over the long term as the costs associated with large-scale battery material recovery and recycling will be far lower than purchasing additional raw materials for cell manufacturing.”

In its 2020 Impact Report, Tesla stated that 100% of its scrapped batteries are recycled, and 0% end up in landfills. The EV manufacturer reiterated the claim for 2021. Tesla installed the first phase of its cell recycling facility in Giga Nevada two years ago. By the end of 2021, Gigafactory Nevada reached a production rate of over 50 tons of recycled material per week. 

Tesla initially announced its recycling efforts during the Q1 2022 earnings call. Tesla’s Senior VP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, Andrew Baglino, said that the company was ramping to recycling 150 tons of battery material for its cathode supply chain. 

Tesla believes that battery pack life extension is the most sustainable recycling option for environmental and business reasons. Most of the batteries that Tesla recycles are pre-consumer cells from R&D and quality control. 

“The small number of post-consumer batteries that we receive are primarily generated from our fleet of vehicles on the road, predominantly from taxi-like vehicles. Since we have only been producing Model S (our oldest model) for approximately ten years, and our energy storage products for even less time, it will likely be some time before we start receiving back vehicle batteries in larger volumes,” Tesla noted.

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