The European Union is laying the groundwork for new regulations aimed at improving the sustainability of batteries, which will become even more important if the bloc bans the sale of vehicles with petrol and diesel engines by 2035.
The European Council and European Parliament last week reached a tentative agreement on rules governing a battery’s lifecycle from production to reuse and recycling. The rules, originally proposed by the European Commission in late 2020, target all batteries, not just electric vehicles.
The regulations set a number of targets, including an obligation for manufacturers to collect used batteries from light transport, starting at 51% by the end of 2028 and increasing to 61% by the end of 2031. Batteries must also be replaceable, which will help Electric vehicles stay on the road longer.
There are also more specific targets, such as the need to recover 50% of the lithium from discarded EV batteries by 2027 and 80% by 2031. Another important goal is the minimum amount of recycled materials used in electric vehicle batteries. These are initially to be set at 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 6% for lithium and 6% for nickel, although a date was not given.
There will also be new labeling requirements, including documentation of recycled content.
“The new rules will boost the competitiveness of European industry and ensure that used batteries are properly collected and recycled so that useful materials are recovered and no toxic substances are released into the environment,” said Marian Jurečka, the Czech Minister for the Environment in a statement.
To enter into force, the rules must now be approved and formally adopted by both the European Council and the European Parliament.