Eurobat warns of 'unacceptable' EU bid to 'take place of experts' in setting battery standards

by John Shepherd
Proposals 'have potential to be a real game changer', but changes needed, says Eurobat.
Battery industry leaders have criticised an attempted ‘power grab’ by the European Commission (EC) to enforce new standards for the design, production and use of batteries, over the heads of national technical experts.

The EC’s action, part of a proposed shake-up of outdated EU laws governing the industry, has been described as "unacceptable” by Eurobat, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers.

In its formal response to the EC’s proposed Batteries Regulation, Eurobat said last night that the relevant section (Article 16) should be scrapped, because it risked EU policy chiefs "taking the place” of technical experts.

'National technical experts'

"It is unacceptable that the Commission wants to take the place of national technical experts on matters which are, by nature, extremely technical and that refer to how the products are designed, produced and operated,” Eurobat's position paper said.

"We therefore strongly suggest removing Article 16 in its entirety, and to allow national, European and international standardisation committees to do their work on standards development.”

'Potential game changer'

As it stands, the EC wants its own Joint Research Centre to work with EU standardisation bodies to develop "common specifications” for batteries – but the EC would have the power to implement its own specifications to replace any proposals deemed "not sufficient”.

The EC published the Batteries Regulation last December, saying the proposals would put tough new requirements for recycling and ethical sourcing at the heart of its measures.

Eurobat agrees the proposals "have the potential to be a real game changer”, but said changes are needed.

'Risk to battery industry'

On recycling, Eurobat said the Batteries Regulation failed to clarify how the recycled content of imported batteries would be calculated and verified. This presented a "concrete risk of damaging the EU battery industry” in relation to international competitors.

And Eurobat called on the EC not to apply regulations that promote ‘green, made-in-Europe batteries’ to all industrial batteries, but to restrict the measures to electric vehicle and stationary energy storage batteries only, "as originally intended”.

"The industrial battery segment includes a huge variety of technologies and hundreds of real-life applications, from forklift trucks and batteries for telecommunications to elevators and uninterruptable power supply in data centres and hospitals,” Eurobat said.

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