Political authorities are often criticized for legislating after an event or the advent of a technology. The market for large electric batteries (cars, scooters, bicycles) today represents 30 billion dollars. An impressive figure but far from the 218 billion forecast for 2027.

In anticipation of this announced change, Europe has decided to take the lead. The Strasbourg parliament has just given the first reading of a very ambitious text. In particular, it provides for the establishment of a minimum recycling rate for all batteries.

All the strength of this proposal lies in its universality. As the first text on the subject, it concerns the batteries of electric cars as well as those of our mobile phones, including electric bicycles and household appliances.

More ethical batteries

The first change required by this text will come into effect from 2024. It is expected that all batteries sold in Europe after this date will have a carbon footprint label. It will give indications on the conditions of extraction of the ore. From 2026, it should inform consumers about the durability of the battery.

In 2027, some batteries with criteria that are too low will simply no longer be salable in Europe. For the MEP, Achille Variati, this text is a great first. ” NOTWe have circular economy legislation that covers the entire life cycle of a product. » A blessing both for the environment and for the economy according to the politician.

Recycling and reuse

This circular economy will be visible from 2023. The bill asks companies using batteries to collect them as quickly as possible. As of next year, a collection rate of more than 45% will have to be respected. This figure is expected to reach 73% in 2030.

Although universal, the text differentiates between several types of batteries. Thus those used on cars, bicycles or electric scooters will not have to comply with the same rules. The requested collection rate will be only 61% in 2031. Once recovered, the batteries will have to be recycled en masse.

Europe hopes that by 2027 technical advances will allow recycling of 90% of the cobalt and nickel present in batteries. The lithium recycling rate should reach 80% in 2031 according to the requirements of the European Parliament.

Finally, batteries built after 2031 will have to be made from recycled products. Thus 16% of the cobalt used must come from an old battery. For nickel, Europe has set a rate around 6% only.

Removable batteries will make a comeback

Another part of the text focuses on the way batteries are installed in devices, including smartphones. For Pascal Cafin, MEP and President of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, removable batteries must make their return to our phones by 2025. “The non-repairable iPhone is over,” he said. tweeted.

The apple brand has not yet reacted. She has already had a lot of trouble accepting the forced change of her connector port (from Lightning to universal USB-C) and she risks being even more defensive when it comes to batteries.

The best argument for Apple being an outright departure from the European market. An idea that chilled the blood of economists a few months ago, but which seems to have lost its luster since then.

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