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Tesla executives launch a mysterious startup for ‘materials recycling’

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‘Unlock the value of your materials’

Tesla

Two Tesla executives just filed documents with the federal government announcing their intention to launch a new stealth company that’s focused on... well, we’re not exactly sure yet.

Last night, CB Insights spotted a new SEC filing for a company called Redwood Materials. The documents list Jeffrey “JB” Straubel, Tesla’s co-founder and current CTO, and Andrew Stevenson, Tesla’s head of special projects, as its chief executives. The company is housed in a nondescript office building in Redwood City, California, that also includes a law office, a career counseling service, and something called The Wise Mind Institute. The SEC filing also discloses a $2 million investment in the company from an undisclosed investor last month.

A bare-bones website also exists for the mysterious company. “Unlock the value of your materials,” it states, with a subhead that reads, “Advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.” A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for clarification about the new venture.

It’s very likely that this has nothing to do with Tesla. As noted by Electrek, Straubel has been known to invest in companies without any connection with Tesla, like his backing of new energy storage startup Axiom Exergy. Straubel, who is overseeing the supply chain at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada, has also expressed interest in mineral recycling. Last year, he spoke about how Tesla plans to recycle the batteries in its electric vehicles and reuse the materials.

The news of the venture comes as Tesla’s manufacturing process comes under its latest scrutiny. Klaus Grohmann — founder of the German firm Grohmann Engineering, a company that specializes in automated manufacturing that was acquired by Tesla late last year — was just ousted after clashing with the electric carmaker’s CEO, Elon Musk.

We expect more news about Tesla’s manufacturing process, and an update about the forthcoming Model 3, during the company’s earnings report on May 3rd.