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The European Council and Parliament adopted the End of Life Vehicle Directive in September 2000 with the aim of reducing waste from end of life cars by ensuring that the constituent parts of a car can be recycled. As a key component in the functioning of a car, this directive also applies to car batteries. Under Article 4(2)(a) a number of substances may not be used in cars. Annex II provides for exceptions to these restrictions, including the use of a number of these substances in batteries. This was the case for example with lead and cadmium in batteries for automotive batteries and electrical vehicles respectively. The exception for cadmium expired on 31 December 2008 and it may no longer be used in car batteries except for in spare parts for vehicles put on the market before that date.
In May 2010, the Oeko Institut prepared a report for the European Commission on whether to continue this exemption for lead. The report concluded that the use of lead in batteries is unavoidable at this point in the technology as there are no other alternatives which are as efficient or reliable. The European Commission and the Member States therefore decided to continue the exemption and are expected to review the situation again in 2015.
In April 2010 the Commission issued a communication for a “European Strategy on Clean and Energy-Efficient Cars”. The strategy, recognising the potential for expansion of the clean and energy-efficient car market globally, proposes a number of steps to “provide an appropriate and technology neutral policy framework for clean and energy efficient vehicles”. Proposals in the strategy include setting emission and efficiency targets for a number of vehicles, promote measures and research into new technologies that limit CO2 emissions and oversee incentive schemes to ensure customer uptake of energy efficient vehicles. The Commission will also be looking in particular at various aspects of electric vehicles including safety requirements and standardisation. Of particular interest to the battery industry, the Commission will also be looking at what changes will need to be made to existing battery legislation to adapt to new market circumstances, will promote European programmes on recycling and reusing batteries, and review options for changing the rules governing the transportation of batteries.
The CO2 and Cars Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 443/2009), published on 23 April 2009, sets emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles. This Regulation sets limits to the average of a car manufacturer’s fleet’s CO2 emissions from new cars registered in the EU. This Regulation sets a limit 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km), provides for penalties for exceeding this limit, aims for a long term goal of 95g/km by 2020, and allows for innovative CO2 saving technologies, which have been independently verified, to be taken account of in the calculation of the emissions. The Regulation provides for a phasing in process.
On 28 October 2009 the European Commission adopted a new legislative proposal for a CO2 and Light commercial Vehicles Regulation based on Regulation (EC) No 443/2009. The draft legislation has similar limits to those as Regulation (EC) No 443/2009.
Batteries already play an important role in helping meet these standards in the form of start stop batteries and will continue to contribute with developments in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.
The REACH Directive deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The main substances used in batteries are covered by REACH. For more information on REACH and batteries please see the section on Environment, Health and Safety.
The European Commission on 21 December 2007 adopted a proposal for a new Directive to recast the existing legislation in the area of industrial emissions. The proposed new Directive, the Industrial Emissions Directive, collects seven existing Directives into one consolidated text (including the IPPC Directive, the Large Combustion Plants Directive, the Waste Incineration Directive, the Solvents Emissions Directive and three Directives on Titanium Dioxide). This Directive requires all operators of industrial installations to hold a permit. Permit holders must take all appropriate preventive measures against pollution, ensure waste production is avoided where possible and that energy is used efficiently. The Directive also provides for on site inspection by authorities. Battery manufacturing installations will ipso facto require this permit to operate in the European Union.
The text of the Directive is at an advanced stage and has passed a second reading in the European Parliament.
Other legislation that applies to industrial sites also applies to battery manufacturers.
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