The EU, the USA, China and other countries want to oblige carmakers to commit to a minimum durability of the batteries installed in their electric and hybrid cars. This was agreed in principle by the countries at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in Geneva.
“Agreed in principle” consequently means that there is no binding decision yet. The roadmap is to vote on a draft binding regulation in March 2022. Subsequently, countries that agree to the draft will have to transpose the UNECE requirement into national law. According to a UNECE communication, the regulation could thus be in force from 2023.
If the current draft is adopted next spring, the following requirements for battery durability would apply: After five years or 100,000 kilometres, the battery may lose less than 20 per cent of its original energy content. After eight years or 160,000 kilometres, the loss may not exceed 30 per cent.
According to the UNECE, the aim is to prevent the use of “poor-quality batteries”. This is crucial “to strengthen consumer confidence and to improve the environmental performance of electric vehicles beyond their low emissions”. For the carmakers themselves, the regulation in its current form is probably only a manageable hurdle: 70 per cent residual capacity after eight years or 160,000 kilometres can already be found very frequently in the warranty conditions – in some cases also with higher mileages.
In addition to the EU, the USA and China, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Great Britain also support the initiative. Such a regulation would then apply uniformly in the largest EV markets to date – even if (provided no stricter targets are adopted) only the status quo, so to speak, is transferred into a legal regulation.
In one respect, however, the regulation would go further: Consumers could be given a kind of right to information. “Under the proposed regulation, accurate information about the health and remaining capacity of the battery will be made freely available to the vehicle owner,” says André Rijnders, chairman of the Working Group on Pollution and Energy (GRPE). “This will provide valuable information for used/second-hand EV transactions and other changes of vehicle owner.”
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