RECHARGE calls on decision-makers to aim for global leadership in sustainable battery value chains while strengthening a competitive European industry

Yesterday the European Parliament Environment Committee has voted on the Compromise Amendments to the Commission proposal for a new Batteries Regulation. RECHARGE, the European industry association for advanced rechargeable and lithium batteries, calls on the decision-makers to prioritise measures that will establish environmental regulation world leadership through a strong and competitive European battery industry.

From the overall holistic view, all measures need to ultimately deliver on the EU’s path set out in the EU Green Deal ambition and climate neutrality targets. Sustainable batteries play an essential role in advancing the energy transition and decarbonisation, and have been identified as a strategic area of interest for the EU. Moreover, policy-makers have a unique chance to establish a legislative framework which enables a European batteries value chain to become a competitive global leader, thus setting sustainability standards for the rest of the world”, said Claude Chanson, RECHARGE General Manager, commenting on tomorrow’s vote.

RECHARGE had welcomed the long-awaited Commission proposal for a Batteries Regulation, which had set a sound basis for a modernised Regulation, including carbon footprint and due diligence measures, which the industry had called for. The carbon footprint and comprehensive due diligence measures – if properly implemented and enforced – have an unsurpassed steering potential to strengthen European competitiveness. “A carbon footprint measure which cannot be properly implemented and controlled at Member State level, because of a too broad scope of the measure, loses its purpose and becomes meaningless. This would not only jeopordise the competitiveness of the still nascent European batteries industry, but would also open the door for green-washing and for non-compliant products to enter into the EU,” added Chanson.

Furthermore, RECHARGE warns that some well-intended amendments on which the Environment Committee will vote on tomorrow may not deliver on the overall objectives, and calls on the MEPs to consider:

 No matter what design, application or technology, all batteries are electro-chemical devices, optimised to store and release energy according to the application demand. Due to their energy releasing and chemi­cal properties, batteries must fulfil a series of international, European and national safety requirements during their production, transport, storage, use and end-of-life management. Safety of the product and the consumer is, hence, a key pri­ority for the European battery industry. Nearly every unqualified change of components, such as the replacement of individual cells of a battery pack or the BMS, causes the loss of conformity with the safety tests. The most recent suggested proposals, such as replaceability of batteries outside the category of portable batteries of general use, repairability of battery packs and cells as well as common chargers put the safety control at risk.

 The creation of a level playing field with regards to imported products is key for the European batteries industry. European battery manufacturers will introduce many innovations over the coming years and therefore caution needs to be applied in a fast-paced environment not to overregulate product design and to not over-narrowly define product performance. Such measures could hamper the ability of the industry to innovate and to meet new and future more complex customer demands. The situation in which the difficulty of enforcing several of the proposed design requirements – including recycled content – which would lead to an uneven playing field, hampering innovation and competitiveness of the European industry, needs to be avoided.

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