26 Apr 22

Europe developing a “battery passport” for EVs

A consortium of car makers and battery producers, funded by the German government, is developing what is being termed a “battery passport” (Reuters reports).

The consortium of 11 partners, including BMW, Umicore and BASF, has received €8.2 million in government funding to develop common classification and standards for gathering and disclosing data on batteries. The initiative aligns with new battery regulations currently being prepared by the European Union (EU).

EV batteries first to come under the spotlight

Electric vehicle (EV) batteries will be the first to come under scrutiny. A European Commission proposal, due to be discussed later in 2022, states that rechargeable EVs, light transport and industrial batteries sold in Europe must disclose their carbon footprint from 2024 to comply with CO2 emission limits from 2027.

The raw materials within the batteries - and whether they are recycled or not - must also be disclosed. Additionally, there are directives for battery makers to use a minimum of recycled cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead from 2030 onwards.

How it could work in practice is that batteries will carry a QR code, linked to an online database where EV owners, businesses and regulators can access information on the battery’s composition.

Making it easier to recycle raw materials

The German economic ministry, officially the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, stated that part of the mission behind the initiative is to make it easier to recycle raw materials inside batteries, which will cut dependence on foreign suppliers who control the vast majority of these resources. It is part of a global initiative to advance the concept of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores for business, which can enable them to receive preferential treatment from banks and governments.

ESG scores have been heavily criticised for serving as a way for larger organisations to exert control over entire industries (reports Matt Posky in The Truth About Cars). ESG scores are said to effectively advantage existing monopolies while giving government regulators high levels of control.

It’s uncertain how the battery passports will be utilised or whether it will allow for better monitoring of supply chains (as it’s supposed to do), only time will tell but we’ll be keeping a close watch on the story as it unfolds.

Meanwhile, there is still time to register and get tickets for the Global Fleet Conference, Lisbon, Portugal on 2-4th May.

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Alison Pittaway