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On Tuesday, November 9th, Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller explored the policies, sustainable technologies and recyclable materials spearheading electric vehicle deployment for a new mobility future, featuring Redwood Materials co-founder & CEO JB Straubel and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

JB Straubel highlighted the importance of sustainable materials in battery production, how battery supply chains play a crucial role in creating many of the world’s sustainable products, and the issues surrounding recycling end of life batteries.

  • On the important role of battery supply chains in spearheading sustainability: “I think now, even more than a few years ago, it’s coming into really clear focus that the supply chain around the battery in particular, is a really critical topic for sustainability and most of the products that sustainability is relying upon in their industrialization.”
  • On planning ahead for responsible large-scale battery disposal: “We have to make sure that we’re planning ahead. Planning ahead both for the supply chain scale-up that’s needed to accomplish this in a sustainable way...and also planning ahead for the end of life and making sure that we don’t have unintended or unexpected environmental impacts associated with that end of life....”

Sen. Angus King illustrated which policies will be most effective to accelerate the transition to EVs, how the U.S. can become less reliant on other countries for battery supplies, and the potential future of recycling batteries to create circular supply chains.

  • On reducing U.S. dependence on other countries’ battery supply chains: “As I say, there’s a very important national security aspect of this, and it’s a matter of stimulating and developing the domestic industry, including mining and processing.”
  • On optimism surrounding a major transition to electric vehicles in the future: “I’m optimistic. I think we’re going to develop a recycling market. I think we’re going to see more battery manufacturing here in the U.S., and I think we’re going to see far more EVs out on the road, and the climate will be all the better for it.”

Axios SVP of Events & Creative Strategy Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with DuPont President of Mobility & Materials Randy Stone, who explained the plastic industry’s role in expanding sustainable transportation.

  • “The plastics industry can bring an integrated and holistic set of solutions that help the adoption of EVs, and if we do that, of course, we get much better sustainability, we get lower carbon emissions, we get better fuel efficiency...there’s a really, really important role that we play to advance this hybrid and electric vehicle trend that we see today.”

Thank you American Chemistry Council for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 27, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Pity the "green" car buyer

Expand chart
Data: IHS Markit Data; Note: Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Americans are more open than ever to trading in their gas cars for electrified vehicles — but they're flummoxed by the confusing array of green options arriving in showrooms.

Why it matters: Getting up to speed on the differences among hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will be a challenge for car buyers — and salespeople, too — as we transition away from gas-powered vehicles over the next decade.

Axios AM Deep Dive: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic and COVID has only accelerated that. See how America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.