The industry is moving ahead with the planned pass for fairly manufactured batteries. A prototype is to be produced by the end of the year, and a first version in 2021, as the Dax group BASF announced as a member of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) to the German press agency. "The battery passport should be fully functional by the end of 2022. It should contain the data on certain criteria, standards and threshold values that are necessary for the issue of a" quality seal "for sustainable batteries."
The goal is for consumers to receive significantly more information about the manufacture of electric cars in the future. This is intended to certify that no child labor was used to mine important components such as cobalt and that safety and health standards were complied with.
Sustainability seal for batteries
The battery passport should "make social, ecological and economic criteria transparent," said BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller. "The value chain of batteries offers great opportunities to contribute to sustainable development." Brudermüller heads the GBA together with Benedikt Sobotka, head of the Eurasian Resources Group in Luxembourg.
The car maker Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi are among those participating in the GBA. The aim is "to create a comprehensive and internationally recognized sustainability seal for batteries," said Audi. "These include, for example, specific limit values in the individual stages of the value chain, for example for CO2 emissions or water use."
Car manufacturers apply the brakes
However, VW and Audi were more reserved on the schedule. A VW spokesman emphasized that the project was "still in the conception phase". Audi said: "It can be assumed that it will take no less than three years to adequately process the – technologically-related – extensive branches of the value chain."
Representatives of consumer groups, civil society organizations and governments would also be involved in the GBA's consultations, said BASF. Political support is already strong. The ultimately planned seal had to provide definitions "in order to be able to distinguish 'good' from 'bad' in relation to different indicators," emphasized the chemical company. "At the same time, it must be ensured that this process runs as quickly as possible in order to provide orientation for the market."
Focus from smartphone on electric cars
So far, the electronics industry has been the main focus of discussion about the origin of the components of lithium-ion batteries – especially because of the smartphone boom. With the expected expansion of electric vehicles with their large batteries, the focus is now shifting to the automotive industry. At the same time, there are also alternatives to some raw materials: According to media reports, Tesla is considering using cheaper batteries without cobalt to produce its bestseller Model 3 in China.
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