Acculon Energy

Powering Ahead: New EU Battery Regulation Changes Coming in 2024

Come along as continue our discussion about the evolving regulatory landscape & standards surrounding battery systems! This week we’re focusing on the EU’s new Battery Regulation (Regulation 2023/1542). 

Contact: Betsy Barry
Communication Manager

The European Green Deal of 2019 outlines Europe’s growth strategy to transform the EU into a resource-efficient and competitive economy, aiming for zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A pivotal aspect is the transition from fossil fuels in vehicles to electromobility to achieve climate neutrality. Ensuring that products marketed and sold in the EU are sustainably sourced and manufactured is considered a crucial element of the Green Deal and includes product policies to contribute effectively to reducing global carbon emissions. As such, battery technology is integral to the European Commission’s plans to deliver on the ambitious environmental targets laid out in the Green Deal.

To meet the sustainability requirements outlined in the Green Deal, the EU approved new battery regulations (Regulation 2023/1542) in July of 2023 that will go into effect starting in February of 2024. The regulation aims to establish unified legislation for the sustainability and safety of batteries in the EU, replacing the existing Battery Directive (2006/66/EC). Overall, the regulatory changes apply to all manufacturers, producers, importers, and distributors of every type of battery in the EU market, extending to all batteries sold in the EU. Batteries are categorized into 5 types, including portable, light means of transport, starting-lighting-ignition, industrial, and electric vehicles, and each is subject to specific assessment processes as outlined in the standard.

Some important changes in aspects of the regulation involve Conformité Européenne (CE) compliance assessments. All batteries, whether used in a product or supplied separately, must undergo a CE conformity assessment and be marked accordingly. It will be the manufacturers’ responsibility to institute the CE conformity requirement assessment, which is subject to battery use-specific requirements.

The regulation requires a “battery passport” for each industrial battery with a capacity of more than 2 kWh, EV batteries, and LMT batteries (e.g., an e-bike battery). The passport is an electronic record accessible through a QR code containing general information about the battery and the battery data sheet. The goal of the battery passport is to create transparency for stakeholders concerning information about supply and value chains. The battery passport is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

There is also enhanced supply chain accountability and due diligence for battery manufacturers. Companies introducing batteries with cobalt, natural graphite, lithium, or nickel into the EU market must implement due diligence policies, assess supply chain risks, and undergo third-party verification. Additionally, companies introducing batteries to the market are responsible for end-of-life collection and treatment, with updated targets for collection rates and recycling efficiencies.

The regulation sets targets for material recovery of cobalt, copper, lead, lithium, and nickel in recycling facilities. Portable batteries must be easily removable and replaceable by end-users, and light means of transport batteries must be replaceable by an independent professional.

Unlike the updates to UL standards that focus primarily on safety, the new EU regulations, which are expected to become the global benchmark, primarily target sustainability & battery end-of-life management aimed at achieving ambitious climate goals. 

These new regulations are going to have sizable impacts on the battery industry as a whole. The “phase in” aspect of the regulation is designed to help industry players and stakeholders prioritize implementation over several years; however, manufacturers of batteries and battery-operated products will have no small task in ensuring compliance with this new EU regulation, which is considered by some experts as the most significant to date. It is also worth noting that the new EU Batteries Regulation is widely expected to become the global benchmark in its efforts to regulate battery sustainability, safety, and end-of-life management. 

While the new EU regulations mostly address sustainability in battery systems, there are a few safety-related aspects, but only for stationary battery energy storage systems (SBESS). Conversely, changes in the regulatory environment in the US have mostly been focused on safety, especially concerning lithium batteries. However, unlike in the US, these latest regulatory updates are now mandated by EU law, making the CE mark a labeling requirement rather than relying on voluntary compliance only.