As reported by the European Parliament, the Parliament and the Council reached a preliminary agreement on 9 December 2022 on the revision of the EU battery legislation, taking account of technological developments and future challenges. The agreed rules and regulations will cover the entire life cycle of batteries, from design to end of life, and will apply to all battery types sold in the EU:
- conventional portable device batteries,
- batteries for light transportation (LMT/LTV, providing electricity to power wheeled vehicles such as electric scooters and bicycles)
- vehicle batteries (SLI, provide power for starting, lighting or ignition of vehicle engines),
- traction batteries (EV, for powering electric road vehicles) and
- industrial batteries (energy storage in private or domestic environments, for propulsion in rail or air transport and shipping).
Negotiators agreed on stricter requirements to make batteries more sustainable, powerful and durable. The initiative is closely linked to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the new Industrial Strategy.
The agreement stipulates that batteries for electric vehicles, LTV batteries and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity of more than 2 kWh must declare a carbon footprint and bear a corresponding label.
Three and a half years after the legislation comes into force, portable batteries must be designed in such a way that consumers can easily remove and replace them without assistance.
In order to better inform consumers, the batteries will be embellished with labels and QR codes containing information about their capacity, performance, shelf life and chemical composition, as well as the icon for separate collection. LMT batteries, industrial batteries with a capacity of more than 2 kWh and EV batteries must also carry a digital battery passport containing information about the battery model as well as specific information about the individual battery and its use.
According to the agreement, all economic operators placing batteries on the EU market, with the exception of SMEs, must develop and implement a so-called due diligence policy in line with international standards, to address the social and environmental risks associated with the procurement, processing and trading of raw materials and secondary raw materials.
Other measures provided in the Regulation:
- Collection targets of 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030 are set for portablebatteries, and 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031 for LMT batteries ;
- Minimum amounts of recovered cobalt (16%), lead (85%), lithium (6%) and nickel (6%) from production and consumer waste must be reused in new batteries;
- All spent batteries, regardless of their nature, chemical composition, condition, brand or origin, must be returned free of charge by end-users to the collection points set up by manufacturers;
- By 31 December 2030, the EU Commission will assess whether to phase out the use of non-rechargeable portable batteries for general use.
The EU Parliament and the Council still have to formally approve the agreement before it can enter into force. According to information from circles involved, the new EU regulation might take effect in the first half of 2023 and will apply immediately in all member states of the EU in line with the respective transition periods.
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