With green battery standards for EVs, EU seeks a competitive edge

Europe's battery demand is set to soar this decade, spurred by 30 million electric vehicles that the EU says Europeans will be driving by 2030.EU proposes that rechargeable EV and industrial batteries must disclose their carbon footprint from 2024, and comply with a CO2 emissions limit from 2027.
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| Updated on: 10 Dec 2020, 06:02 PM
File photo of electric vehicle used for representational purpose only (AFP)
File photo of electric vehicle used for representational purpose only (AFP)
File photo of electric vehicle used for representational purpose only (AFP)
File photo of electric vehicle used for representational purpose only

Electric car and industrial batteries sold in Europe will soon face legally binding environmental standards, the European Commission said on Thursday, as it seeks to give local producers an edge in a rapidly growing global market.

Europe's battery demand is set to soar this decade, spurred by the 30 million electric vehicles the EU says Europeans will be driving by 2030.

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The Commission on Thursday proposed regulations to ensure that demand is met by greener batteries with lower emissions, produced using recycled materials. The proposals need approval from EU member states and the European Parliament.

"Batteries placed on our market, regardless of their origin, they will be sustainable," Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said.

(Also read | Andhra Pradesh lays out plan to introduce 10 lakh EVs by 2024)

Under the proposals, rechargeable electric vehicle (EV) and industrial batteries sold in Europe must disclose their carbon footprint from 2024, and comply with a CO2 emissions limit from 2027.

An obligation to disclose the content of recycled raw materials in those batteries would apply from 2027, followed by requirements to use a minimum share of recycled cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead from 2030.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra does not think that electric vehicles will become obvious choice for all customers any time before 2040.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra does not think that electric vehicles will become obvious choice for all customers any time before 2040.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra does not think that electric vehicles will become obvious choice for all customers any time before 2040.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra does not think that electric vehicles will become obvious choice for all customers any time before 2040.

To encourage battery recycling, the Commission also proposes targets for EU countries to collect 65% of portable batteries by 2025 and 70% by 2030, up from the EU's current target to collect 45% of portable batteries.

Today, China hosts roughly 80% of the world's lithium-ion cell production, but Europe's capacity is set to expand quickly. The EU says local producers could cover the bloc's electric vehicle battery demand by 2025.

(Also read | China's Great Wall plans new electric, smart vehicle brand, say sources)

Brussels hopes its proposals could support that aim, by giving green-minded local producers an advantage over those in countries where a coal-heavy electricity grid means the CO2 footprint of battery manufacturing is likely higher.

Jesper Wigardt, vice president of communications at Swedish battery maker Northvolt, said the proposals would incentivise investments in renewable energy, to help Europe "get out of batteries produced in less good energy grids from a CO2 point of view."

Northvolt's renewable energy-powered plants are among 15 large-scale battery cell factories under construction in Europe.

First Published Date: 10 Dec 2020, 06:02 PM IST
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