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The electric vehicle market is on the rise, but we should not embrace the electrification of transport with our eyes closed. An electric vehicle revolution could also have negative consequences for the planet if policymakers do not act now to boost opportunities and tackle a number of outstanding transport issues, in particular related to environmental challenges presented by batteries, tyres and charging systems. This paper explores how European policies and standards can address these pressing environmental challenges.
Standards should provide definitions, as well as technical and quality specifications for every phase of the value chain of a product, and create a level playing field. New standards are particularly needed to enable the assessment of the performance and durability of batteries, setting reliable metrics and evaluation tests. New standards are also needed to facilitate repair, reuse and recycling of EV batteries. Batteries are a key element to decarbonising the energy and transport sectors. Ensuring that they are clean and sustainable under EU legislation needs to be a priority. In particular, the EU must make sure batteries are:
- Designed in a circular way
- Contain raw materials that are sustainably and ethically sourced
- Produced with a lower carbon footprint and using only renewable energy sources
- Long-lasting and easy to reuse
- At the end of their lives, easily collected and recycled
Additionally, to improve the sustainability of batteries, the EU must accompany the new legislation with robust standards and requirements to increase battery lifespan, to allow second-life batteries and recycling, and to improve consumer information.
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