Here is the “battery passport” that will make it possible to green electric cars

The battery passport, which will not only concern electric cars, aims to provide more transparency on all the batteries fitted to our devices, with better traceability of the components.

The advent of the electric car in recent years has obviously led to many questions about the manufacturing process of said cars, but also and above all their battery.

Polluting extraction system, use of rare metals, forced child labor, recycling… There are many questions, information and misinformation, and this is why the legislator, but not only, is now asking manufacturers for much more transparency around batteries.

On January 18, the Global Battery Alliance (a group that represents more than 120 international companies, industrialists and non-governmental associations) presented several examples of what the battery passport project could be at the Davos Economic Forum.

His goal ? Offer more transparency and better traceability over the entire life of the battery, and that from its mining extraction to the recycling process. Several automotive brands are collaborating on this project, including Tesla, Audi, Volkswagen and Volvo.

What technical information will be communicated?

With the first examples given, we can already have a good overview of the life of the battery concerned. These concern three electric car batteries, namely a model from Tesla and two from Audi. We thus discover four tabs with different information concerning the battery, the materials, the environmental, social and governance criteria and finally the data.

The first tab is composed of several data listed like this:

  • The various manufacturers responsible for the cell, the assembly and the vehicle in which the battery is installed;
  • The dates and places of the various productions;
  • The type of cells, the number of cells per pack;
  • Battery pack total energy (kWh), nominal capacity (Ah) and voltage;
  • The type of chemistry (LFP, NCM, NMA, etc.);
  • The weight of the battery;
  • Energy density (kWh/kg);
  • The expected lifetime (in number of cycles);
  • The operating temperature range.
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As you can see, this information is globally already known since sometimes communicated by the manufacturer in the technical sheet of the vehicle. It is also the least “abstract” tab for the consumer, with precise figures.

The second tab concerns the materials that make up the battery cells and their origin. We have also taken as an example the Tesla “long range” battery used by the Global Battery Alliance to illustrate this “prototype” passport. We thus find:

  • The share of recycled materials in the cells (no info from Tesla for the moment);
  • Raw materials and their weight;
  • The origin, with the supplier and the country of extraction.

The third tab gives a rating on compliance with environmental and social commitments, including an update on respect for human rights and child labor, and this on all the actors who participated in the manufacture of the battery. There is also a classification of performance according to the carbon impact of the battery.

The fourth tab is a sort of summary table with all the data analyzed highlighting whether the traceability of the battery is advanced or whether there are still some gray areas. In the Tesla example, practically all the elements are traced, analyzed and the environmental and social commitments respected.

If you wish to discover this battery passport prototype in more detail and the three examples published, do not hesitate to consult the organization’s website: the Tesla modelandAudi model (115 kWh battery) and a second Audi model (100 kWh battery).

Compulsory from 2026

As you will have understood, we are still at the prototype stage, but the European Union adopted rules at the end of last year to green its batteries, from smartphones to cars. Thereby,all batteries produced will have a digital clone which includes all the data collected during the entire life cycle.

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Overall, this digital clone system is nothing really new since Renault already uses it in its factories. Its principle is quite simple, since its digital twin is hosted in the cloud and can be consulted. Customers will therefore have access to a QR Code referring to the battery passport of the vehicle concerned.. The battery passport will be an element imposed by the European Commission on 1is January 2026 for all electric cars and industrial batteries on the European Union market.

As a reminder, manufacturers must, from 2024, provide information on the total carbon footprint expected of each battery, from mining to recycling. And after 2027, only the batteries of electric cars not exceeding a maximum threshold can be marketed.

The composition of new batteries must also include minimum levels of metals from waste recovery. For example, after 2031, batteries for electric vehicles will have to incorporate at least 16% cobalt, 6% lithium and recycled nickel.

What other sectors are affected?

As stated above, the battery of electric cars will not be the only one concerned. Other rules have been established by the EU around batteries for electronic devices. Within three and a half years, smartphones or electronic devices will have to be designed to be able to easily remove and replace the battery.

Companies including batteries in their products will have to respect fundraising goals : 45% of telephone or computer batteries must be collected by 2023, and at least 73% by 2030. Bicycles, scooters and electric scooters are also concerned with a minimum recovery rate which will amount to 61% by 2031.

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As a result, all collected batteries will need to be recycled, with high levels of recovery for the most critical components. By 2027, the processes used must make it possible to recycle at least 90% of the cobalt and nickel of the batteries, as well as 50% of the lithium, then 80% in 2031.

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