The European Commission recently announced a plan to formally adopt new battery regulations to make them more sustainable, circular and safe. As such, batteries will play a central role in the EU’s vision for climate neutrality by 2050.
Revised Battery Directive from 2006
The agreement is based on a commission proposal from December 2020 and relates to all types of batteries. The Battery Directive from 2006 needs to be revised due to new socioeconomic conditions, technological developments, environmental matters and the rapidly growing battery market. Such growth will also increase the demand for raw materials.
At this time, there is only one regulation and directive that applies to batteries in European Union; Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020 and Directive 2006/66/EC.
New Regulation procedure 2020/0353/COD
The Battery Directive was introduced years ago and ever since the battery market, mainly based on li-ion chemistry, has evolved and grown ,creating new safety and environmental challenges. To tackle those challenges, the European Union plans to update formal requirements for batteries by implementing a new Regulation procedure 2020/0353/COD. Because this is a Regulation, and not a Directive it will not require a long adaptation process to enter into local law; 12 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and it will apply after 6 months. It will be one unified text for the entire EU, without State Members’ interpretation, as it is nowadays.
Significant changes proposed in 2022
The first version of this regulation is from the year 2020, but many significant changes were proposed in 2022. “At Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, we keep a close eye on all regulatory shifts as they emerge and stay on top of them, providing complex support to our global partners,” says Petr Grzegorz, Business Development and Marketing Manager.
The latest changes proposed in the new 2020/0353/COD procedure will affect e-bike batteries in such a way that producers will need to take action. Here, we focus on the main ones, even though the proposal is still discussed in the European Union Council. Some changes may occur until the first planned reading in European Parliament scheduled on 10th March 2023.
We focus on the main ones, even though the proposal is still discussed in the European Union Council
New battery category (LMT)
The new proposal introduces a new battery category for Light Means of Transport (LMT), which will cover mainly scooter and e-bike batteries. Such batteries will need to fulfil a series of international, European and national safety requirements during their production, transport, storage, use and end-of-life management.
A strong focus will be also placed on recycling. Starting from 2030, 12% cobalt, 85% lead, 4% lithium and 4% nickel in all new batteries must come from recycling. Those values in 2035 will rise to 20% cobalt; 85 % lead; 10% lithium, and 12% nickel. The collection rate of used batteries will be also required at a given threshold: 75% collection rate for LMT batteries by December 31st 2025 and 85 % by the end of 2030. The collection must be done free of charge for an end user, irrespective of brand, nature, chemical composition or UE Member State, where the battery was introduced to the market.
Accessibility, reparability and guarantee
Another important aspect of the new regulation focuses on the removability and repairability of LMT batteries. Starting in 2024, end users must be able to easily remove all such batteries. Additionally, independent service centres (not necessarily linked to manufacturers) must be able to replace battery cells. Manufacturers need to provide service manuals for each battery. They also need to guarantee that spare parts are available for 10 years since the last battery introduction to the market.
The expected lifetime of a battery (concerning cycles and calendar years) needs to be provided by the manufacturer. What is more, some read-only real-time data from the battery management systems (BMS), such as state of health, state of charge, capacity, power state, safety information or an expected lifetime, need to be accessible for third parties and end users.
Minimal requirements for electrochemical performance
To ensure the battery’s long lifespan (to minimalise waste), batteries from 2026 will need to fulfil minimal requirements for the electrochemical performance and durability parameters. There is also a plan to standardise battery chargers by 2026. The details are not yet clear.
Battery information access
The information about the battery is another aspect that is changing with new regulations. 2 years after the regulation comes into force, a battery nameplate will require new data, like nominal energy capacity, average duration when used, expected lifetime, separate collection, hazardous substances and QR code. A QR code will require a connection to an online database containing further information, such as:
- from January 1st 2023, the declaration of conformity;
- from July 1st 2023, the information about the end of life;
- from July 1st 2024, the carbon footprint declaration;
- from January 1st 2026, the carbon footprint performance class;
- from January 1st 2026, the information contained in the battery passport;
- from January 1st 2027 – regulations Part A of Annex VI and the specific information required under to Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and the Council;
- 12 months after the regulation enters into force – the report value chain due diligence for all batteries;
- from January 1st 2027, information about the nominal energy capacity, average duration when used, expected lifetime;
- from January 1st 2027, the amount of cobalt, lead, lithium or nickel recovered from waste and present in active materials in the battery.
The carbon footprint declaration will need to include an independent third-party verification statement
In a shortcut, a battery passport will contain chosen points, similar to QR code, and updated information about the battery and its status. The carbon footprint declaration will need to include an independent third-party verification statement. The limits for the carbon footprint will be presented later by the EU.
There is also a strong recommendation for a third-party conformity assessment, when CE marking, to ensure conformity with this regulation. A report of value due diligence information on the supply chain related to raw materials will be mandatory. This means that a battery traceability system needs to be implemented in production. The new regulation also requires an electronic exchange system by 2026 for a producer register, to centralize data in one common system.
Making batteries more sustainable
The main goal of the new regulation is to make batteries more sustainable throughout their entire life cycle and maximise collection targets by setting up higher levels of recovery of valuable materials.
Working on new requirements
So far, the new directive requires more detailed rules (secondary legislation), to be adopted at the beginning of 2024 to be fully operational by 2028. Nevertheless, Johnson Matthey Battery Systems in Gliwice, Poland is already working with its e-bike partners on new requirements, to ensure their batteries continue to stand out in a highly competitive market, as they will significantly change the e-bike battery production we know today.
This article is sponsored by Johnson Matthey Battery Systems