Here’s the “battery passport” that will make electric cars green

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The battery passport, which will not only affect electric cars, aims to give more transparency to all the batteries installed in our devices, with better component traceability.

Obviously, the arrival of the electric car in recent years has generated many questions about the manufacturing process of these cars, but also and above all about their battery.

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

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

Its objective? Offer more transparency and better traceability throughout the 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 battery life in question. These are three electric car batteries, namely one model from Tesla and two from Audi. Thus, we discover four tabs with different information about the battery, the materials, the environmental, social and governance criteria and finally the data.

The first tab is made up of various data listed as follows:

  • 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 package;
  • 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 useful life (in number of cycles);
  • The operating temperature range.

As you can see, this information is already known worldwide since sometimes the manufacturer communicates it in the vehicle’s technical sheet. It is also the least “abstract” file for the consumer, with precise figures.

The second tab refers to the materials that make up the battery cells and their origin. We’ve also taken Tesla’s “long-range” battery used by the Global Battery Alliance as an example to illustrate this passport “prototype.” Thus we find:

  • The proportion of recycled materials in the cells (no information from Tesla at 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 about all the actors who participated in the manufacture of the battery. There is also a performance rating based on the carbon impact of the battery.

The fourth tab is a kind of summary table with all the data analyzed, highlighting whether the traceability of the battery is advanced or if there are still some gray areas. In the Tesla example, virtually every item is tracked, tested, and environmental and social commitments are honored.

If you want to know more about this battery passport prototype and the three published examples, do not hesitate to consult the organization’s website: the Tesla model, an Audi model (115 kWh battery) and a second Audi model (100 kWh battery). kWh).

Mandatory from 2026

As you may have understood, we are still in the prototype stage, but the European Union adopted rules late last year to make its batteries, from smartphones to cars, greener. In this way, all batteries produced will have a digital clone which includes all the data collected throughout the life cycle.

In general, this digital cloning 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. Therefore, customers will have access to a QR code that refers to the battery passport of the vehicle in question.. The battery passport will be an element imposed by the European Commission on 1is January 2026 for all electric cars and industrial batteries in the European Union market.

As a reminder, manufacturers must, starting in 2024, provide information on the total expected carbon footprint of each battery, from removal to recycling. And after 2027, Only electric car batteries that do not exceed a maximum threshold may be marketed.

The composition of new batteries must also include minimum levels of metals from waste recovery. For example, starting in 2031, electric vehicle batteries must contain at least 16% cobalt, 6% lithium and recycled nickel.

What other sectors are affected?

As previously stated, the battery of electric cars will not be the only one affected. The EU has set other rules around batteries for electronic devices. Three and a half years from now, smartphones or electronic devices will need to be designed so that the battery can be easily removed and replaced.

Companies that include batteries in their products must respect fundraising goals : 45% of phone or computer batteries must be collected by 2023, and at least 73% by 2030. Bicycles, scooters and electric scooters also have a minimum recovery rate that will rise to 61% before 2031.

As a result, all batteries collected 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 in the batteries, as well as 50% of the lithium, then 80% in 2031.

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