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Industry insight: Battery Passport

15 August 2023

The number of electric vehicles sold in the EU continues to grow rapidly. According to the figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, fully battery electric vehicles accounted for 12.1 % of the 9.1 million units sold in EU markets in 2022. That compares to a share of 9.1 % in 2021 and of just 1.9 % as recently as 2019. 

The total number of fully electric passenger cars in EU countries increased by 58 % compared to 2021 – from 1.9 million to 3.1 million. Between 2019 and 2022 they soared by more than 400 %. While Germany has the largest fleet of electric vehicles, with more than a million battery-powered cars, they only represent 1.3 % of the entire car fleet. Norway is leading the electrification of passenger cars with 15.5 % of their fleet being battery-only electric.

Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries because of their high energy per unit mass and the higher power-to-weight ratio. According to EnBW, manufacturers need about ten kilos of lithium for the batteries of an electric car.

betteries is already giving discarded lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles a second, productive life. The Berlin-based start-up has developed a battery concept that can be easily repaired and disassembled at the end of its service life so that valuable components and materials can be separated and either reused or recycled. The CO2 emissions already produced during the battery’s manufacture are spread over a much longer battery life.

More transparency in the value-creation process

The Berlin-based start-up is guided by the principles of the circular economy: reduce – reuse – repair – recycle, thus supporting the European Green Deal, which aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. As a first step, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve this goal, the economy and society must be realigned in many areas.

The Battery Passport – as defined in the new Battery Regulation – will support the sustainable and circular management of batteries. It will provide a digital infrastructure for documenting and sharing valuable battery information with all relevant stakeholders along the battery value chain. Once implemented, this information will be used to transparently monitor the entire life cycle of the batteries enabling design production and value creation processes according to circular principles.

Ultimately, the life cycle of the entire battery system is to be extended as far as possible and the recycling of the materials and components used is to be promoted at the end of the life cycle. Furthermore, the creation of transparent supply chains for battery raw materials should be made possible.

betteries is a partner of the Battery Pass project. With its already commercially applied solutions and expertise, the start-up supports the project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection with expertise and industrial experience. The first publicly available guidance for the implementation of the Battery Passport was presented at the Hannover Messe in the spring. betteries Founder Rainer Hoenig and betteries Head of Research & Technology, Dr. Núria González-García, supported the team responsible for the preparation of this document.

Rainer Hönig points out the importance of the Battery Passport:

“We protect scarce battery resources. Sustainable batteries are the key to environmentally, socially, and climate-compatible electromobility. The Battery Passport is a big step in the right direction. The passport will regulate and harmonize data exchange between companies along the battery value chain. Information such as the carbon footprint or conditions of raw material extraction is part of this. All of this is to be exchanged in the future. For betteries, this is of crucial importance. Data on the actual battery status supports our strategy for safer and reliable second-life operation.”

The Battery Passport summarizes, interprets, and evaluates the content requirements of the EU battery regulation. This includes highlighting ambiguities and inconsistencies in the legislative text and scope, ensuring an appropriate balance between sustainability objectives and industrial feasibility; exploring other key regulatory frameworks such as the Ecodesign Regulation for sustainable products to identify harmonization potential with other legislations; and suggesting additional value-adding aspects beyond the mandatory regulatory scope to enable greater sustainability and circular economy.

Manufacturers must meet stricter requirements

Companies must prepare to meet stricter regulations in the coming months. And time is of the essence: From 2024, everyone putting a 1st or 2nd life battery in the European market, will have to disclose the carbon footprint of their batteries, and from 2027 they will have to comply with the CO2 emissions limit set by the EU. Compliance with this is to be monitored by independent auditors. Whoever sells the battery is to be responsible for ensuring that the battery passport is included – i.e., electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers for EV batteries or the battery manufacturer itself if the battery is the end product, e.g., for a storage system. Still under discussion is the method for accurately calculating the carbon footprint and recycled content. The question of who gets access to which data is also still unclear.

Dr. Núria González-García: “betteries ensures that resources are used in a responsible way. We share the view of the European Commission that a digital Battery Passport will reduce the environmental impact of battery production,” says betteries Head of Research & Technology, Dr. Nuria González-García. “It will also increase resource efficiency along value chains and better ensure compliance with human rights standards. betteries ensures that resources are used in a responsible way.”

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the production of electric cars in Germany is increasing significantly. In the first three quarters of 2022, it amounted to around 375,600 e-cars worth just under 16.2 billion euros. This was 66.2% more than in the same period of the previous year. This continued the trend of the previous year: In 2021, around 328,000 cars with purely electric drive systems worth €13.7 billion were produced in this country. That was reportedly an 85.8% increase in volume compared to 2020, showing: So the number of recyclable e-car batteries will also increase rapidly.

Developed in Berlin and manufactured in France

betteries is prepared for large quantities. The start-up has an industrial partnership with Mobilize, a company of the French Renault Group. The entire battery upcycling process takes place in a Re-factory in Flins in the north of France. The applications of the betteries products are very diverse. They can be used wherever there is no access to energy: on construction sites, for food trucks, for solar energy storage, at film and event venues, and even aboard small electric boats.

“The Battery Passport will positively change this manufacturing process,” says Rainer Hönig, “for example, when it comes to lower costs for reporting mandatory product-related information. The Battery Passport could also have the effect of making supply chains for battery raw materials more transparent, he adds. “Better data will enable more information about the condition of e-vehicles, and of course that will ultimately benefit drivers.”