Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers

EUROBAT, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, welcomes the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries presented today by the European Commission and included in the Third Mobility Package. Already in February 2017, EUROBAT proposed the development of a '2030 EU Battery Strategy', and we are supportive of the fact that the European Commission has started with putting this initiative into practice. We strongly regret, however, that not all battery technologies found recognition in the Action Plan, since it is focuses only on one technology for a specific application. There is therefore the risk that the European Battery Alliance will result in a missed opportunity for the European battery industry as a whole in terms of jobs, growth and innovation.

We strongly believe that an overall strategy to boost the competitiveness of the European battery industry is absolutely needed. From start-stop technology to full electric vehicles, batteries of different technologies are already contributing to the decarbonisation of the European transport sector and will play an even bigger role in coming years, with progressive hybridisation and electrification of transports. Batteries will also contribute to the decarbonisation of other sectors, from energy storage and grid stability to warehouse, port logistics and telecommunication.

Batteries have different characteristics and are used in different applications, where their specificities allow users to select the most appropriate technology. All four battery technologies currently available on the market (lead, lithium, nickel and sodium), with their different characteristics and properties, will be fundamental in the energy transition. We therefore urge strongly to take a wider perspective at all battery technologies when undertaking next steps of the European Battery Alliance. Global competition in the battery sector is particularly fierce, and Europe must not lose ground on a key sector for the decarbonisation of the economy. Several challenges must be addressed to sustainably develop and produce green batteries in Europe, from securing supply of raw materials to further development of end of life management, from market development to regulation.

We welcome that the revision of the Battery Directive has found recognition in the Battery Action Plan, and that the Commission is recognizing the need to monitor the coherence of different regulatory instruments to ensure smooth functioning of the internal market for batteries. There is currently a lack of policy coherence, and different kinds of batteries and substances used in batteries are currently regulated by three different pieces of EU legislation, resulting in contradictory indications and burdensome procedures: Battery Directive (applying to all batteries), End-of-Life Vehicles Directive (applying to automotive lead-based batteries) and REACH (applying to the substances relevant for the battery chemistries). The revision of the Battery Directive should be used to put the focus on the environmental sustainability of batteries and not on the toxicity of the substances used in batteries. Furthermore, no battery technologies should be banned.

Renewed attention and continuous efforts on the development of all battery technologies will be a fundamental cornerstone of the transition to a decarbonized economy. Research and development investments planned under the different European funding schemes must support the efforts of the European battery industry. In this regard, we welcome the inclusion of this priority and the references to the several financial instruments in the Action Plan.

 

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About EUROBAT:

EUROBAT is the association for the European manufacturers of automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries. EUROBAT has more than 50 members from across the continent comprising more than 90% of the automotive and industrial battery industry in Europe. The members and staff work with all stakeholders, such as battery users, governmental organisations and media, to develop new battery solutions in areas of hybrid and electro-mobility as well as grid flexibility and renewable energy storage.

For more information, please visit www.eurobat.org or contact the office in Brussels.