Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers

(BRUSSELS, 16 June 2017) - EUROBAT, the European association representing manufacturers of automotive and industrial batteries, organized its 2017 Forum in Brussels on 9 June.

At its General Assembly, EUROBAT announced the change of staff management: Rene Schroeder was appointed as Executive Director of EUROBAT, while Alfons Westgeest will continue contributing to the association as International Affairs Advisor.

In his welcome address of the Forum, Johann-Friedrich Dempwolff, President of EUROBAT and General Manager at Johnson Controls Power Solutions, emphasized the potential of batteries as solutions to contribute to the decarbonisation of the European transport and energy sectors and the importance of European jobs and growth. He also underlined the necessity of having coherent legislation on batteries to improve the competitiveness of the EU battery industry.  

The subsequent three sessions addressed three topics in detail: (1) the upcoming review of the EU Battery Directive; (2) the competitiveness of European battery manufacturers and the 2030 EU Battery Strategy; and (3) how motive power batteries can contribute to the decarbonisation of the EU economy

In his keynote speech, José Rizo Martin, DG Environment, explained that a revision of the Batteries Directive is needed to take into account the technological evolution of batteries and the bigger role that they will play in society. Karsten Kurz, Exide Technologies and Chair of EUROBAT's Committee on Environmental Matters, stated that the Battery Directive is a role model for circular economy. There are currently overlaps with other legislation but that this Directive is the best instrument for the sector. EUROBAT strongly rallies against legislating substitution of a well-functioning technology such as lead-based batteries. Patrick De Metz, Corporate Environmental and Governmental Affairs Director at SAFT, presented the case on the efficiency of collecting process of Ni-Cd batteries. The collection process of these batteries in Europe is particularly efficient. However, the data available on Ni-Cd batteries "available for collection" should be refined. Alain Vassart, General Secretary of the European Battery Recycling Association (EBRA), presented the priorities of EBRA. Overall, the new revised Battery Directive must ensure a level playing field for all recyclers. In particular, there is the need for a certification system regarding the calculation method of the recycling efficiency for batteries, including for non-European recyclers.

Starting off the session on the competitiveness of the European battery industry, Gery Bonduelle, Enersys and Chair of EUROBAT's Committee on Industrial Batteries, presented the call for a 2030 EU Battery Strategy launched this year by EUROBAT. Europe has an existing manufacturing base of batteries, and global competition is particularly fierce. To take advantage of the benefits of advanced batteries in the energy and transport sectors, Europe will have to support and develop its battery industry. To do so, legislative coherence and a forward-looking strategy are needed. Amalia Di Stefano, Chief Global Governmental Affairs Officer, European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), presented CLEPA priorities to decarbonize the transport sector. Electrification of the transport sector is an important evolution, but electrification and improved internal combustion engines shall not be in competition. Alexandre Roesch, Policy Director, Solar Power Europe, presented the recent evolution of the storage market, drawing a parallel with the development of solar PV. Storage can provide multiple services, but the current legislative landscape still includes several barriers to its deployment. The current proposal of the Clean Energy Package includes several measures to address these barriers, like the right to self-generate and store electricity.

The final session discussed the contribution of motive power batteries to the decarbonisation of the European economy. Labros Bisalas, System Sunlight and Chair of EUROBAT's Working Group on Motive Power Batteries, presented the new EUROBAT report on motive power batteries. The publication presents the battery technologies used in motive power applications and concludes that each battery technology has a role to play in these applications due to the specific properties of each technology. Heiko Boekhoff, from the European Materials Handling Federation (FEM), presented the possible battery applications in industrial trucks. Lead- and lithium- based batteries have both a role to play in different applications. Several drivers are boosting this market, in particular the need to reduce emissions and noise, but also technological evolution and policy developments. Matthew Allen, Solutions Manager Counterbalance Products EMEA at Hyster-Yale Group, presented data on the market development of counterbalance forklifts and large electric trucks in the EMEA region, comparing electric and LPG/diesel trucks.

Frank Cecchi, Vice-President of EUROBAT and Executive Vice President & President SAFT SAS, concluded stating the need for battery manufacturers of all technologies to keep working together.

Attended by more than 100 participants, the EUROBAT Forum was moderated by Simon Godwin, Chairman at the Impact Assessment Institute.

Presentations and photos will be available on EUROBAT's website.Next year's EUROBAT AGM and Forum will be held on 14-15 June in Budapest, Hungary.