May 03, 2017 10:31 AM EDT
There is an initiative called Redwood Materials that could address the environmental problem of what to do with dead electric car batteries as Tesla expands its factories’ capacities. However, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicates Tesla could be involved in the initiative, although it may not be obvious.
Two Tesla officials are also officers of Redwood Materials. They are JB Straubel, the chief technology officer of Tesla, and Andrew Stevenson, the head of special projects, Jalopnik reported. According to CV Insights which discovered the SEC filing, an undisclosed investor invested $2 million on April 21 in Redwood Materials.
Redwood Materials also has a sparse website linked to Tesla. In the bare portal, it states the initiative targets the entire lifecycle of materials by leveraging “advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.” The creation of Redwood Materials would be timely since Tesla founder Elon Musk aims to produce one million electric cars by 2020.
Besides surreptitiously setting up Redwood Materials, Tesla started to offer solar power solutions and storage in 2016, CNET points out. It would be through the Gigafactory which would be the production site on a mega scale of Tesla products. The bulk would be lithium-ion battery cells.
However, despite Redwood Materials and other initiatives by Tesla, the CAL Alumni Association says Musk is only selling hype. Richard Muller, a physics professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley and co-founder of Berkeley Earth, insists that Tesla vehicles are not beneficial for Earth. Buying Tesla electric cars is only a form of conspicuous consumption, Muller says.
In spite of how skeptical Muller and some researchers are, orders for Tesla vehicles are going up, while reviewers such as Car and Driver gave five-star ratings for Tesla’s cars whose batteries may have found a green solution through Redwood Materials.
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