The CB Insights Cruncher has uncovered a SEC filing listing Tesla's CTO and Special Projects head on a stealthy materials initiative.
The CB Insights Cruncher has captured a recent SEC filing that points to a new advanced materials recycling and manufacturing initiative called Redwood Materials, with ties to Tesla. The filing does not explicitly link the Redwood City, California-based initiative to Tesla, but lists JB Straubel (Tesla’s CTO) and Andrew Stevenson (Tesla’s head of Special Projects) as executive officers. The document also notes a $2M investment into the company from a single undisclosed investor, with a date of April 17, 2017.
Over recent years, Tesla has greatly expanded the scope of its ambitions beyond electric vehicles themselves, purchasing SolarCity to offer a complete energy capture and storage solution. The company is also looking ahead to rethink existing industrial processes, from building mega-scale Gigafactories to improving its automated manufacturing capabilities ahead of its Model 3 launch with its Grohmann Engineering acquisition.
We also uncovered a sparse website linked to the company, describing the initiative as targeting the entire materials lifecycle, leveraging “advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.” Given Tesla’s ambitious plans to scale its manufacturing for new auto models and volume, materials efficiencies and innovation could be key to the company’s efforts. CTO JB Straubel has also spoken previously about the superior economics of battery recycling (over vehicle-to-grid storage battery reuse); if Tesla’s sales growth matches its expectations, the volume of used batteries will also swell over the coming decade.
Upon further sleuthing, Stevenson highlighted “re-thinking the materials supply chain” as an area that Tesla was targeting for innovation in a March 2017 keynote. Again, it’s unclear as of yet how closely linked Redwood Materials might be to Tesla itself (if at all), but the overlap in key personnel and areas of interest make this a company to watch.
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