December 4, 2022

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Lyft, Redwood Materials Partners to Recycle Shared E-Bike and E-Scooter Batteries • Eureka News Now

2 min read

Lyft is working with Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company founded by former Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, to ensure the batteries from its fleets of shared electric bikes and scooters don’t end up in landfills at the end of their life.

The news, reported by The Verge, comes the same week that Lyft ended its dockless bike and scooter operations in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, citing a desire to secure long-term deals with a limited number of operators. Lyft also ended its Scootershare operations in San Diego earlier this year as part of several cost-cutting and restructuring measures that keep Lyft more focused on ridesharing.

While leaving these cities might suggest more are to come – and therefore Lyft will need a responsible way to dispose of its vehicles lest we have another Uber Jump landfill pile situation – Lyft’s docked bikeshare programs, in particular, CitiBike in New York City, continues to thrive. Lyft haphazardly began rolling out pedal-assist e-bikes in NYC in 2019, and the company says its bikes have a five-year lifespan, so at least some of its electric fleet is nearing the end of its useful life.

The partnership with Redwood could be the recycling startup’s first foray into shared micromobility — the company didn’t respond in a timely manner to requests for clarification. Redwood is known for mining scrap from Tesla’s battery partnership with Panasonic and recycling batteries from Ford, Volvo, Toyota, Nissan, Specialized, and others. The company has expanded from simple recycling to manufacturing critical battery materials, and last week signed a deal with Panasonic to do just that and support a domestic EV supply chain in North America.

In its partnership with Redwood, Lyft will recover dead batteries through its operations team and ship them to Redwood’s Nevada facility. Redwood decides how much of the battery is reusable and then begins a chemical recycling process that removes and refines nickel, cobalt and copper, which ideally can be used to make new batteries.

Jackson Switzer, Redwood’s senior director of business development, told The Verge that about 130 e-bike batteries can provide enough battery metals to make a new EV battery. All redwood recycling is done domestically, which is an improvement over battery materials that are sent abroad to be dismantled and remanufactured, only to be shipped back to the United States at the end.

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