Legislation on Batteries Secures Sustainable Electric Cars
Reference: The European Commission
Reference: The European Commission
Contract period: 2018-19 (Viegand Maagøe + Vito + Fraunhofer)
Viegand Maagøe have assisted the European Commission in developing the foundation for a possible regulation in the near future that will secure electric cars as a sustainable alternative to gas and diesel cars.
How we solved the task
It is the aim of the European Commission to ensure a more sustainable transport sector in Europe by means of electric vehicles. Together with Vito and Fraunhofer ISI, Viegand Maagøe were asked to execute in-depth analyses of the environmental aspects of batteries for electric vehicles and for support of the electricity grid.
We analyzed the supply chain of different raw materials, critical to battery production. An important aspect was to consider whether the metals are being extracted from mines and processed or traded in conflict or in high-risk areas.
Furthermore, we studied how EU can make demands with the purpose of reducing damage to the local environment around the mines and additionally, processing plants for these materials and avoid child labor, bad work environments, and other negative effects on social settings in the supply chains. Additionally, we investigated whether EU consider the materials as limited resources and to what extent the batteries’ materials can be recycled.
Viegand Maagøe’s in-depth knowledge regarding EU regulations was used to evaluate which statutory requirements that:
- secure sustainable extraction of the materials (due diligence procedure)
- eliminate possible environmental impacts and risks
- are relevant for the batteries’ performance, capacity, efficiency, and durability.
Aside from studying concrete statutory requirements, Viegand Maagøe analyzed how these requirements will impact the environmental and social challenges that are linked to battery production and its raw materials. Viegand Maagøe also assisted the European Commission in executing a traditional impact assessment regarding the proposed requirements.
An essential part of the project has been the cooperation across national borders and meetings with stakeholders from the industry, NGOs, and Member States.
The project forms the basis of a possible regulation, which will ensure that:
- the drastic growth of electric vehicles will be a sustainable alternative to gas and diesel cars
- batteries can be recycled at a maintained material quality, and resources will be kept within EU
- batteries will not result in escalating conflicts in exposed countries, such as DR Congo.
- 22 GWh corresponding to 700,000 tons CO2
- € 1 b. for the consumers
Source: scenario models by Viegand Maagøe
The consumers’ savings are a result of the batteries’ prolonged lifetime and higher efficiency. In 2040, it is expected to have reached savings of 870 GWh in total, which corresponds to 350,000 tons CO2.
Hence, a legislation can generate a sense of security among EU citizens, who desire to buy electric cars that will not cause excessive environmental harm. Additionally, it will contribute to expand the storage of electricity from wind turbines and solar cells. It is important to increase the share of renewable electricity, since the electricity is often not utilized while being produced.
Many materials in the electric vehicle batteries originate from countries outside of EU. Ensuring the possibility of reutilization within EU will benefit the European battery and electric vehicle industries and increase the possibility to produce independently of China and other major battery suppliers.