The new Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on enters into force

The Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on results in an exten­si­on of manu­fac­tu­r­ers’ responsibility.

After a long legis­la­ti­ve pro­cess, Par­lia­ment and Coun­cil have agreed on the new Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on 2023/1542, which will be direct­ly appli­ca­ble throug­hout the Euro­pean Uni­on from the begin­ning of 2024. For manu­fac­tu­r­ers in par­ti­cu­lar, this will result in exten­ded due dili­gence requi­re­ments with regard to the sus­taina­bi­li­ty, safe­ty and label­ling of bat­te­ries in the EU. The fol­lo­wing artic­le pres­ents the most important innovations.

Objec­ti­ves and appli­ca­ti­on of the Bat­tery Regulation

As part of the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the Green Deal, Par­lia­ment and Coun­cil agreed on the final con­tent of the new Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on on 12 July 2023, in order to advan­ce the imple­men­ta­ti­on of a sus­tainable cir­cu­lar eco­no­my in the EU. Among other things, the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on pur­sues the objec­ti­ve of com­pre­hen­si­ve har­mo­ni­sa­ti­on of the regu­la­to­ry frame­work for bat­te­ries in the EU.

After the ent­ry into force of the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on on 17 August 2023 and a tran­si­ti­on peri­od of 6 months, it will app­ly direct­ly in all EU mem­ber sta­tes 18 Febru­ary 2024. For a lar­ge num­ber of pro­vi­si­ons, a later or stag­ge­red start of vali­di­ty is envi­sa­ged. On 18 August 2025, the pre­vious­ly appli­ca­ble Bat­tery Direc­ti­ve 2006/66/EC will be repealed.

Cover­ed bat­tery cate­go­ries and addres­sed eco­no­mic operators

The mate­ri­al scope of appli­ca­ti­on of the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on con­ti­nues to cover all bat­te­ries – regard­less of their shape, weight, volu­me, mate­ri­al com­po­si­ti­on or use – that are pla­ced on the mar­ket or put into ser­vice in the EU. The scope of appli­ca­ti­on fur­ther cor­re­sponds to a holi­stic approach to cover the enti­re life cycle of a bat­tery. The Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on addres­ses all eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors that come into cont­act with bat­te­ries along their value chain. Thus, not only pro­du­cers, but also their aut­ho­ri­sed repre­sen­ta­ti­ves, importers, dis­tri­bu­tors and so-called ful­film­ent ser­vice pro­vi­ders are tar­ge­ted by the Bat­tery Regulation.

Inno­va­tions also result from the intro­duc­tion of fur­ther bat­tery cate­go­ries, which leads to a new clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on of bat­te­ries with cor­re­spon­ding obli­ga­ti­ons of the eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors. In addi­ti­on to the exis­ting cate­go­ries of “por­ta­ble bat­te­ries”, “indus­tri­al bat­te­ries” and “star­ter, light­ing and igni­ti­on bat­te­ries”, “elec­tric vehic­le bat­te­ries” and “light means of trans­port bat­te­ries” are intro­du­ced. Elec­tric vehic­le bat­te­ries are tho­se used to power road vehic­les. Light means of trans­port bat­te­ries (so-called “LMT bat­te­ries”) will in future include bat­te­ries for e‑bikes and e‑scooters, for example.

Increase in trans­pa­ren­cy requi­re­ments and exten­ded obli­ga­ti­ons of eco­no­mic operators

The clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on into a bat­tery cate­go­ry has par­ti­cu­lar rele­van­ce for the trans­pa­ren­cy stan­dards to be met. Thus, all elec­tric vehic­le bat­te­ries, rech­ar­geable indus­tri­al bat­te­ries with a capa­ci­ty grea­ter than 2 kWh and LMT bat­te­ries must be pro­vi­ded with a decla­ra­ti­on of their car­bon foot­print and be label­led accordingly.

The cata­lo­gue of obli­ga­ti­ons to be ful­fil­led, the scope or gra­du­al appli­ca­ti­on of which – depen­ding on the eco­no­mic ope­ra­tor con­cer­ned – cor­re­sponds to the latter’s pro­xi­mi­ty to pro­duc­tion, has been expan­ded. This now ran­ges, among other things, from pro­per design in com­pli­ance with sub­s­tance limits and the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the con­for­mi­ty assess­ment pro­ce­du­re to the pro­vi­si­on of ope­ra­ting ins­truc­tions and safe­ty infor­ma­ti­on as well as cor­rect label­ling and docu­men­ta­ti­on. In par­ti­cu­lar, requi­re­ments for the per­for­mance and dura­bi­li­ty of bat­te­ries, spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons for the mini­mum con­tent of recy­cled mate­ri­als and mini­mum quan­ti­ties of mate­ri­als reco­ver­ed from was­te bat­te­ries have been added.

Exten­ded label­ling obligations

In the future, bat­te­ries must also be CE mark­ed. In addi­ti­on to the CE mar­king, pic­to­grams or other mar­kings may also be affi­xed to indi­ca­te risks, usa­ges or hazards asso­cia­ted with use, sto­rage, hand­ling or transport.

In addi­ti­on, the bat­tery must visi­bly and legi­bly indi­ca­te, among other things, the pro­du­cer, bat­tery model, place and date of pro­duc­tion, weight, char­ging capa­ci­ty, obli­ga­ti­on for sepa­ra­te coll­ec­tion as well as hazar­dous and cri­ti­cal raw mate­ri­als con­tai­ned. From 18 Febru­ary 2027, all bat­te­ries must be mark­ed with a QR code that can be used to access – depen­ding on the bat­tery cate­go­ry –, among other things, the decla­ra­ti­on of con­for­mi­ty or the bat­tery passport.

Bat­tery manu­fac­tu­r­ers will con­ti­nue to be respon­si­ble for bat­tery coll­ec­tion and recy­cling; the con­su­mer shall not incur any cos­ts as a result the­reof. In the inte­rest of impro­ving recy­cling rates, the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on sets stric­ter coll­ec­tion tar­gets. The mini­mum levels of recy­cled cobalt, lead, lithi­um and nickel from was­te bat­te­ries will be gra­du­al­ly increased by 2031 to bet­ween 80% and 95%, depen­ding on the spe­ci­fic sub­s­tance. Like­wi­se, the mini­mum con­tent of recy­cled raw mate­ri­als for reu­se in new bat­te­ries will be raised.

The digi­tal bat­tery pass­port is on its way!

The intro­duc­tion of the digi­tal bat­tery pass­port for cer­tain bat­tery cate­go­ries (light means of trans­port bat­te­ries, indus­tri­al bat­te­ries with a capa­ci­ty grea­ter than 2 kWh and elec­tric vehic­le bat­te­ries) aims to enable an exten­si­ve exch­an­ge of infor­ma­ti­on. The digi­tal bat­tery pass­port is to con­tain a wide ran­ge of infor­ma­ti­on, inclu­ding, among other things, the battery’s ser­vice life, char­ging capa­ci­ty, mate­ri­al com­po­si­ti­on and recy­cled con­tent. Com­pre­hen­si­ve access to fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on, e.g. on dis­as­sem­bly and part num­bers of spa­re parts, shall be given to com­pa­nies such as repair stores or 2nd life users, while access by the gene­ral public shall be limi­t­ed to basic information.

Intro­duc­tion of due dili­gence requirements

The Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on now also includes far-reaching sup­p­ly chain due dili­gence requi­re­ments for eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors. Eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors with an annu­al tur­no­ver of at least 40 mil­li­on euros net that place bat­te­ries on the mar­ket or put them into ser­vice must, among other things, be able to imple­ment a manage­ment sys­tem and car­ry out a risk assess­ment, as well as demons­tra­te com­pli­ance with their due dili­gence obligations.

Faci­li­ta­te rem­oval, extend ser­vice life, avo­id new purchases

In prin­ci­ple, con­su­mers should be enab­led to remo­ve bat­te­ries using com­mer­ci­al­ly available tools. Bat­te­ries must be available to pro­fes­sio­nals and end users for repla­ce­ment at reasonable pri­ces for at least 5 years from the date of purcha­se of the appli­ance. This shall not app­ly to appli­ances which are regu­lar­ly expo­sed to splas­hing water, water streams or water immersi­on. Here, a dero­ga­ti­on from the replacea­bi­li­ty requi­re­ment may app­ly to the ext­ent that repla­ce­ment must be pos­si­ble only for pro­fes­sio­nals, not for end users. This will have far-reaching con­se­quen­ces for all appli­ances with per­ma­nent­ly bond­ed bat­te­ries, such as lap­tops or head­pho­nes, which up to now have always had to be dis­po­sed of due to the lack of repla­ce­ment opti­ons. Par­al­lels can be seen here with the plan­ned Ecode­sign Regu­la­ti­on (we alre­a­dy repor­ted on this) and other regu­la­ti­ons plan­ned as part of the Sus­tainable Pro­duct Initia­ti­ve, such as the intro­duc­tion of the right to repair .
It remains to be seen to what ext­ent pro­du­cers will (be able to) take advan­ta­ge of the dero­ga­ti­ons and whe­ther cor­re­spon­ding tigh­tening will fol­low in dele­ga­ted legal acts. The regu­la­ti­ons on the replacea­bi­li­ty of bat­te­ries will be bin­ding as of Febru­ary 2027. Regu­la­ti­ons on sanc­tions for vio­la­ti­ons of the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on are not part of the Bat­tery Regu­la­ti­on its­elf, but are still to be enac­ted by the EU mem­ber states.


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