A coterie of European associations have identified five “key risk” areas that could derail the growth of the EU battery industry and the electrification of its transport, energy and industrial sectors.
The eleven industrial organisations— covering the entire battery value chain— are calling on co-legislators in the European Parliament and Council to “consider fully” the global battery market’s diversity, and to only introduce new ambitions if their impacts have been fully assessed.
It follows the ongoing review of the draft Batteries Regulation published in December 2020, which aims to regulate the battery sector by closing gaps in the existing framework.
In a joint industry paper, the associations suggest pieces of the draft Batteries Regulation “ultimately threatens Europe’s strategic autonomy and risks slowing down the much-needed shift to zero emissions” set out under the Fit for 55 package and the EU Green Deal.
The paper noted: “We are concerned that several items under negotiation on the Batteries Regulation risk slowing down or endangering this needed transition.
“In recent months, we have identified several areas to build upon the European Commission’s first proposal, for example to address unrealistic lead times or requirements that would hamper the innovative and fast-paced profile of the battery industry.
“We are concerned that in several cases amendments, under discussion by the co-legislators, go in the opposite direction.
“Several over ambitious proposals— whose intention might be to support a sustainable and competitive EU battery industry— unfortunately overlook specificities of battery types and their applications, or dynamics of the rapidly growing battery market.”
Identifying risk areas
The joint industry paper identified five key risk areas that require building upon the European Commission’s first Batteries Regulation proposal.
- Recycled content: Article 8 of the proposal requires all electric vehicles, industrial and automotive batteries above 2kWh to use minimum levels of secondary materials as of 2030.
- Design requirements and second life: Requirements to design batteries in a specific way, as proposed in Article 11, could lead to several major negative consequences— including threatening the innovation needed across a nascent European battery industry
- Material recovery targets: Article 57 of the proposal describes the rules for recycling efficiencies and material recovery. The proposed measures and targets should not jeopardise the EU’s battery ecosystem and should benefit the environment
- The scope of carbon footprint and of performance and durability: Article 7 on carbon footprint and Article 10 on performance and durability will be applied to all EV and industrial batteries above 2 kWh. It is impossible to define one-size-fits-all criteria for all batteries, as they all serve different applications and have different technical requirements.
- Restriction of hazardous substances: Article 6 of the proposed Regulation includes a new, parallel process to regulate hazardous substances used in batteries, duplicating the existing and well-established REACH restriction process.
The Batteries Regulation
The Batteries Regulation is a holistic blueprint for future initiatives providing recommendations for achieving shared goals in a number of areas from recycled content to due diligence and carbon footprint.
Read more about the Batteries Regulation in the latest edition of BEST here
Organisations voicing concern
The industry organisations involved in the paper are:
- ACEA: the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association,
- AVERE: European association representing and advocating for electromobility
- CLEPA: the European Association of Automotive Suppliers
- EASE: the European Association for Storage of Energy
- EBRA: the European Battery Recycling Association,
- EGMF: the European Garden Machinery Industry Federation
- EPTA: the European Power Tool Association,
- EUROBAT: association for European automotive and industrial battery manufacturers, covering all battery technologies www.eurobat.org
- EUROMETAUX: industry association representing the European non-ferrous metals industry, including miners, smelters, refiners, fabricators and recyclers.
- RECHARGE: the European industry association for advanced rechargeable and lithium batteries.
- SolarPower Europe: the voice of photovoltaics (PV) in Europe