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EU Issues New Regulation on Batteries and Waste Batteries

SafeGuardSElectrical & Electronics, Automotive12 Sep 2023

SG 115/23

The EU has published a new piece of legislation on batteries and waste batteries. This new law will be implemented in phases, starting February 18, 2024.

On July 28, 2023, the European Union (EU) published Regulation (EU) 2023/1542 on batteries and waste batteries (the Regulation). The new law establishes requirements for sustainability, safety, labeling and information for all batteries, namely portable batteries, starting, lighting and ignition batteries (SLI batteries), light means of transport batteries (LMT batteries), electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries and batteries that are incorporated into or added to products or that are specifically designed to be incorporated into or added to products.

The Regulation contains, inter alia, several important provisions. It:

  • Requires batteries to comply with Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (Annex XVII of REACH, consolidated version to June 2023), Article 4(2)(a) of Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of life vehicles (consolidated version to March 2023) and the following:
    • ≤ 5 mg/kg (0.0005%) mercury for batteries, whether or not incorporated into appliances, LMT or other vehicles
    • ≤ 20 mg/kg (0.002%) cadmium for portable batteries, whether or not incorporated into appliances, LMT or other vehicles
    • ≤ 100 mg/kg (0.01%) lead for portable batteries, whether or not incorporated into appliances, from August 18, 2024
    • ≤ 100 mg/kg (0.01%) lead for portable zinc-air button cell batteries, whether or not incorporated into appliances, from August 18, 2028
  • Calls for a carbon footprint declaration for each battery model per manufacturing plant for electric vehicle batteries, rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity greater than 2kWh and LMT batteries. The carbon footprint declaration must accompany the battery until it becomes accessible via the QR code from February 18, 2027 (Articles 7 and 13(6))
  • Emphasizes that documentation on recycled content of certain metals (cobalt, lead, lithium or nickel) is to accompany industrial, electric vehicle, LMT and SLI batteries
  • Directs the Commission to adopt a delegated act for electrochemical performance and durability requirements for portable batteries of general use, excluding button cells, by August 18, 2027
  • Requires a technical documentation for electrochemical performance and durability requirements for rechargeable industrial, LMT and electric vehicle batteries
  • Requires portable batteries that are incorporated into products to be readily removable and replaceable by the end-user during the product’s lifetime. The use of commercially available (non-specialized) tools to remove batteries is considered to be ‘readily removable’, unless proprietary tools, thermal energy, or solvents to disassemble the product are provided free of charge with the product
  • Details the technical documentation required for stationary battery energy systems
  • Specifies the requirements for labeling, marking and information on the state of health and expected lifetime of batteries
  • Indicates the use of test methods for compliance and verification of compliance for presumption of conformity, including standards that have been referenced in the Official Journal of the EU
  • Specifies the required module for conformity assessment procedures for batteries manufactured in series and those that are not manufactured in series
  • Stipulates the model structure for an EU declaration of conformity (DoC) in electronic format. If requested, this must be provided in paper format
  • Details the rules and conditions for affixing the CE mark
  • Defines economic operators (manufacturers/authorized representatives, importers, distributors and fulfilment service providers) and their legal obligations. End-users are to discard waste batteries in designated separate collection points in the territory of the member state (Articles 59 to 61)
  • Indicates the criteria for collection of waste batteries (portable, LMT, SLI, industrial and electric vehicle), including member state collection targets for waste portable batteries and waste LMT batteries
  • Details the essential requirements for the technical design and operation of a digital battery passport that must be accessible through the QR code on each LMT battery, industrial battery with a capacity greater than 2 kWh and electric vehicle battery from February 18, 2027

Except for a handful of provisions which will continue to apply for a limited period of time, the Regulation repeals Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (consolidated version to July 2018) from August 18, 2025.

The Regulation entered into force on August 17, 2023 (20th day following its publication in the EU). Unless specified in the Regulation, the provisions will apply from February 18, 2024.

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