Building today — an EU Battery Regulatory framework — for tomorrow
ACC’s Position on the Evaluation of the EU Battery Directive
Proposal for a Regulation on batteries 2020/353, replacing Directive 2006/66/EC and amending Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020
ACC is one of the key players in the European Battery Alliance that aims to create a competitive, innovative and sustainable value chain in Europe, focused on the manufacture of sustainable battery cells.
We strongly support the EU regulatory project so far as it seeks to promote the expansion of the European battery industry, while respecting sustainable development and ensuring healthy competition consistent with international trade rules.
As part of the public consultation around the legislation, the Recharge Association, of which we are a member, made a statement that we fully support. Additionally, we would like to emphasize a number of points which we consider essential:
- On the restriction of hazardous substances (art.6): A new chemical substance restriction process is being proposed, while a restriction process called REACH is already in place. There is a risk of overlap, or even contradiction, between the draft regulation and the reference system already in force. For ACC, REACH must remain the sole legislation governing the control of substances and their uses.
- On the calculation of the carbon footprint (art.7): Calculating the carbon footprint of batteries destined for electric vehicle is positive but it will only be differentiating if it integrates the real weight of carbon emissions "from mine to wheel", i.e. from the material extraction mine to the wheel of the electric car equipped with a battery. As it stands, the draft regulation only takes into account the carbon footprint of the manufacturing stages of the cells and modules that make up the battery, whereas this accounts for only 20% of the total carbon footprint. Specific incentives could be granted to producers who achieve a "level of excellence" in this area defined by a battery certification.
- About the recycling (art.8): Setting a minimum weight of recycled raw materials to be used in the manufacture of new batteries is a good proposal, provided that this percentage set by the draft regulation is carefully evaluated, as the demand for new automotive batteries will grow exponentially. And as such, the supply of new batteries cannot be capped because of the potential unavailability of recycled lithium, cobalt or nickel. We welcome the willingness to set precise rules for take-back and recycling, and we alert on the real capacity of the legislator to concretely verify the veracity of the declarations that will be made by each non-European cell / module manufacturer.
- About the durability constraints on EV batteries (art.10): We have reservations regarding the obligation to comply with durability or performance thresholds as this goes against the technical and commercial flexibility needed to serve each market/client according to its requirements. In the field of batteries for electric vehicles, very fast recharging requirements —to serve certain car segments— promotes accelerated battery aging. It would be punitive not to be able to meet this demand due to the obligation to comply with an aging behavior requirement as currently proposed. Generally speaking, a battery cell / module supplier's design options are based on the needs of its customers, which are by definition numerous, varied and highly targeted.
- On the reconditioning and remanufacturing of electric vehicle batteries (art. 59): We strongly encourage the repair, remanufacturing and reuse of automotive batteries that still have a sufficiently high storage capacity and residual performance in general, once their first life in a vehicle is over.
However, it is very important that all batteries manufactured from used modules comply with the same safety standards as new batteries. Many new companies are being created in the battery reconditioning sector without the necessary expertise, with the risk of making products that do not comply with the European Low Voltage Directive.
We therefore recommend that any producer of reused batteries should have a supply contract with the original battery producer, in order to establish a clear legal framework that ensures the safety of reused batteries.
We strongly believe that this new regulation is essential to our industry. However, its terms need to be clear and transparent in order to ensure a fair competition between European battery manufacturers and the rest of the world whilst at the same time mitigating undesirable side-effects on the environment.