It appears that Tesla’s efforts in pursuing battery recycling are about to pay off. If recent rumors in the electric vehicle sphere prove accurate, Tesla may very well be on the cusp of producing Model 3 and Model Y battery packs using recycled materials. Such a solution has the potential to become a game-changer in the EV industry.
Tesla advocate @BillWri90307793, who has provided notable insights about the company’s activities in Gigafactory Nevada in the past, recently posted a teaser of sorts about an important project from the electric car maker. The EV advocate spent the next few days fielding and debunking speculations from Tesla Twitter, and it wasn’t until yesterday night did he confirm that someone had already hit the bullseye on his teaser.
The “bullseye” tweet featured two suggestions: one about a new Model Y variant and another about battery recycling. While it seemed unclear if the “bullseye” comment was directed towards the speculations on the Model Y Standard Range Plus or the Model 3 and Y’s recycled battery packs, later posts from the EV advocate suggested that he was confirming the latter.
When asked if the primary source of recycled materials was scrap from Giga Nevada’s existing battery production activities, the EV advocate remarked that this was indeed the case. This, if any, seems to confirm a statement that was shared by Tesla during Battery Day. Elon Musk was discussing how Nevada’s lithium deposits are enough to electrify the US auto fleet when he stated that Tesla is “starting (its) pilot full-scale recycling factory next quarter at Giga Nevada.”
The advantages of a battery recycling initiative are numerous. Apart from its undeniable positive impact on the environment, a battery recycling system would be able to vastly reduce Tesla’s wastage to a notable degree. A recycling system could improve the company’s margins as well, as even materials such as battery cells that fail quality control could be broken down and recycled.
Former Tesla CTO JB Straubel, who is himself establishing a dedicated battery recycling business near Gigafactory Nevada, highlighted the importance of such an initiative back in the company’s 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting. “We’re developing internally more processes, and we’re doing R&D on how we can improve this recycling process to get more of the active materials back. Ultimately what we want is a closed-loop at the Gigafactories that reuses the same, recycled materials,” he said.
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