Mandatory regulations on EV batteries, a dangerous policy?
The entire life cycle of batteries
The adopted text covers the entire life cycle of batteries, from design to recycling. It will apply to all battery types sold in the EU.
From 2024, manufacturers will have to report the expected value of the total carbon footprint of each battery, from mining to recycling.
Definition of thresholds and criteria
After 2027, only electric car batteries that do not exceed the maximum carbon footprint can be marketed. Sustainability and performance criteria will be applied from 2026.
All collected batteries must be recycled. High recovery levels are specified for critical components. By 2027, the processes used must allow at least 90% of the cobalt and nickel from batteries to be recycled, as well as 50% of the lithium (and then 80% in 2031).
Minimum level of metals from waste recovery
New batteries must include a minimum level of metals during waste recovery: After 2031, batteries for electric vehicles must contain 16% cobalt, 6% lithium and recycled nickel.
Establishing independence through binding rules
“These environmental requirements will apply to batteries manufactured in Europe as well as imported batteries, gradually limiting the access of the most sustainable batteries to the European market,” explains Pascal Canfin, chairman of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.
The aim: to set restrictions severe enough to slow down the advance of batteries made in Asia or America on the European market, increase European production and reduce the EU’s dependence on imports of critical metals (lithium, cobalt, etc.).
“While the EU lags far behind Asia and the US in terms of batteries, this is a leap forward to strengthen our competitiveness,” said MEP Jessica Polfjard (EPP, right), who negotiated the deal.
This law “allows to rebalance the playing field between European manufacturers and importers” and will contribute to making batteries sold in Europe “a new world reference in terms of sustainability”. & Environment.
EU target: 25% of global battery production by 2030
The EU aims to account for 25% of global battery production by 2030.
In 2021, there were about forty battery factory projects on the territory of the Old Continent.
Tougher EU standards and US subsidies: 2 reasons to manufacture outside Europe?
What if the EU was doing harakiri by adopting these new rules? Although the new restrictions are intended to further encourage domestic production, the increased costs they create will force manufacturers, who now require increased subsidies, to find a more business-friendly environment to remain competitive. This is currently the case in North America through the IRA, a new protectionist text recently announced by Joe Biden that subsidizes electric vehicles subject to domestic production of cars and their batteries.
“We need a bigger root to attract new supply chain investment to Europe than to the US or China. One does not come without the other,” said Eurometals spokesman Heron. Finally, battery regulations with very strict criteria and limits may prompt manufacturers to move factories to the US, which has adopted more lenient laws with increased funding.
Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the US effectively “sponsored” battery production lines and manufacturing technology in its own right, and defied EU efforts to promote battery production in Europe.
An unprecedented amount of financial support on both sides of the Atlantic
To be sure, the EU launched an incentive subsidy program in 2017, the Battery Alliance law, with €20 billion in capital funding.
Thus, the European program succeeded in encouraging manufacturers to open local production lines, but the amounts on the table are not comparable to the $369 billion subsidy program intended to support start-up factories and battery products in the United States. production lines.