The growing popularity of electric bikes has raised a lot of exciting possibilities about the future of transportation, but it also presents a number of unique challenges. Chief among them is what to do with all those e-bike batteries when they eventually run out of juice. Rather than send them to a landfill, one major bike manufacturer is teaming up with a co-founder of Tesla to ensure those batteries have a second life.
Specialized, the third largest bike maker in the US based on market share, is partnering with a firm called Redwood Materials, which is run by Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, a co-founder and former chief technology officer of Tesla, to figure out a process for recycling the company’s e-bike batteries. Those batteries, which are typically attached to or integrated within the downtube of the bike, activate the motor when the cyclist is pedaling or uses a throttle.