Blow For EVs As EU Tightens Battery Rules

Tue 1st Dec 2020

Electric car batteries are going to face additional scrutiny from early next year after the European Union announced a range of standards with the aim of making batteries more eco-friendly.

The new rules from the EU will require manufacturers to sustainably source the chemicals and elements which make up the components of each battery and that the use of hazardous chemicals be reduced.

Many countries within the European Union have committed to a date of 2050 to be climate-neutral, a move which will speed up the conversion to electric vehicles, but will also increase the demand for batteries. The EU’s environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius has noted that Europe will be the second largest market for EV batteries, behind Asia, over the next five years.

“In our assessment, the EU will become the second-biggest global market for batteries,” Sinkevicius said.

“The number of batteries placed on the EU market and their importance will only grow in the coming years. Their sustainability should not lag behind.”

The use of cobalt and nickel in batteries has caused a headache for green campaigners for years, with the Democratic of Congo, which supplies 60% of the world’s cobalt said to use child labour practices. 

The world’s biggest supplier of nickel, Nornickel, was criticised by President Putin last summer after dumping 20,000 tons of diesel into a Siberian river.

“The new framework should apply to all types of batteries and all kinds of battery chemistry, whether sold apart or contained in products,” Sinkevicius said. “It will ensure that various battery types are subject to similar but differentiated obligations.”