Rad Power Bikes, an ebike company, seeks to take sustainability a step further by integrating recycled materials into its products, especially its batteries.
Although sustainability is considered to be at the core of the electric vehicle (EV) sector, there are many imperfections, especially with regard to the batteries, which can take a major toll on the environment.
First, making these batteries requires mining, which releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
In 2016, residents of Tagon, Tibet, protested against the Ganzizhou Ronga Lithium mine’s unethical behavior of contaminating the surrounding environment through hazardous chemical spills.
Likewise, the production of lithium in Yichun City, China, was temporarily suspended when an inquiry into the water quality of the Jin River, which served as the primary source of residential water, exposed the existence of harmful pollutants due to EV battery production.
Nearly half of the pollution created by EVs comes from the production process.
Rad Power Bikes aims to solve the environmental problems associated with EV batteries. The company has partnered with Redwood Materials, which specializes in battery recycling technology, InsideEVs reported.
Redwood Materials’ technology will be utilized effectively by Rad Power Bikes to ensure that the ebikes it offers have a prolonged lifespan.
This is how it works: At Rad Power’s retail locations, customers have the option to bring in its used e-bike batteries.
Rad Power will then take care of the necessary logistics and send these batteries to Redwood Materials, where the company will employ its expertise to rejuvenate the depleted batteries.
Upon receiving batteries from its diverse partners, Redwood initiates a chemical recycling procedure that involves extracting and purifying essential elements such as nickel, cobalt, and copper.
Subsequently, a portion of the refined material can be reintegrated into the supply chain for battery production.
Currently, the company has 10 retail locations, and the brand has ambitious plans for future expansion.
Redwood claims to be able to recycle and repurpose over 95% of the essential metals present in the lithium-ion batteries it gathers. These critical metals include nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminum, lithium, and graphite.
“A lot of programs … the batteries are changing hands a few different times before they get to the recycler,” said Rad Power Bikes founder and chair Mike Radenbaugh in an interview, reported The Verge.
“And there are some efficiencies that can be lost there. We have enough volume where we can drive this program with Redwood to prove you basically have a big environmental impact here,” he added.
The collaboration between Redwood Materials and Rad Power Bikes will not only benefit the two companies but also contribute to the development of Redwood’s emerging consumer e-waste collection initiative.
This means the company is collecting old smartphones, laptops, and tablets for recycling, as well.
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