Felicitas Frick, Ferdinand Zotz, Dr Anna Berninger

December 8, 2023

New EU Batteries Regulation: what it means for manufacturers

Battery manufacturers face a new EU regulation covering the full lifecycle for batteries and waste batteries. Here's what manufacturers need to know to stay ahead of the changes while pursuing a circular economy.

European flags in front of EU headquarters in Brussels.
The European Union (EU) recently published a new regulation for batteries and waste batteries, replacing the EU Batteries Directive. The new EU Batteries Regulation 2023/1542 covers the whole lifecycle of batteries from production to reuse and recycling.
As a regulation and no longer a directive, the document applies the same rules to all EU Member States. It also sets out new obligations for manufacturers depending on the battery type, such as:
  • Carbon footprint declaration
  • Recycled content requirements
  • Performance and durability requirements
  • Removability and replaceability obligations
  • Labels with information on capacity and duration of use, etc.
Importers, distributors, authorised representatives and recyclers will also be faced with new obligations under the new regulation.
A brief history of battery legislation
The first EU legislation covering batteries and waste batteries, called the EU Directive on Batteries and Accumulators (2006/66/EC), came into effect in 2006. All 27 Member States transposed this into national legislation.
With rising environmental, social, and economic challenges related to batteries in the EU, the European Commission (EC) proposed an updated law for batteries to improve the shortcomings of the 2006 Directive. In line with the European Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the EC designed a new battery regulation that not only aims to regulate waste batteries, but also considers the whole lifecycle of batteries from design, production, take-back, and disposal.
This new regulation was first proposed in December 2020, and, after several rounds of negotiation, the new EU Batteries Regulation 2023/1542 entered into force on 17 August 2023. Some provisions will apply from 18 February 2024, while others will become relevant over the next few years.
Regulation vs directive
Following EU law, a directive sets binding goals but allows each Member State to choose how to achieve them through national legislation. A regulation applies uniformly across all EU Member States and becomes enforceable as law immediately.
Manufacturers often see regulations more favourably, as they ensure the same requirements across all EU Member States, which is easier to manage across multiple countries and levels the playing field across the market. Harmonisation and a consistent set of rules across the EU simplifies compliance – especially for international market players.
In recent years, it has been proposed – and in some instances has already been put into effect – to transform several waste and environmental related directives into regulations after the revision cycle. Aside from the Batteries Regulation 2023/1542, this is also the case for the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) and the following current Directives: EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the End-of-life Vehicles Directive, and the Ecodesign Directive.
Battery types in scope
The Regulation covers five battery types instead of three, dividing them into different types by their application and weight:
  • Portable batteries
  • Electric vehicle (EV) batteries
  • Industrial batteries, with a sub-category: stationary battery energy storage systems
  • Light means of transport (LMT) batteries
  • Starting, lighting and ignition (SLI) batteries
The obligations and deadlines are defined for specific types of batteries, meaning battery types are affected by different requirements, requiring vigilance by manufacturers.
Battery types covered by the new legislation
Figure 1: Overview of battery types
New concepts and new producer obligations
In contrast to the previous EU Batteries Directive, the new EU Batteries Regulation sets out ambitious requirements covering the entire lifecycle – and the second life, which includes repair, remanufacturing, recycling, and reusing – of different types of batteries. While some of the obligations are transferred from the current regime of the EU Batteries Directive 2006/66, many are new and innovative. Most obligations address manufacturers of batteries as key stakeholders and establish preconditions for lawfully placing batteries onto the EU market.
The new EU Batteries Regulation is divided into 14 chapters and addresses topics including:
  • Sustainability: Seeking to ensure the sustainable design and production of batteries by introducing requirements to their performance, durability, and labelling, including QR codes and a battery passport.
  • Recycling: Aiming to reinforce the recycling and collection of batteries by establishing higher recycling targets and implementing an efficient take-back system for waste batteries.
  • Responsible sourcing: Promoting the responsible and ethical sourcing of battery materials by setting minimum requirements for supply chain due diligence disclosures.
  • Carbon footprint reduction: Encouraging the use of low-carbon technology in battery manufacturing to support the EU's goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
  • European battery market competitiveness: Aiming to strengthen the European battery industry by fostering innovation, growth and a robust supply chain for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
  • Extended producer responsibility (EPR): Reinforcing the obligations of battery producers by holding them accountable for the environmental impacts across the lifecycle of their products.
Timeline and deadlines
Although the EU Batteries Regulation came into force in 2023, some specific obligations will only apply over the next few years with specific dates for each type of battery. A feature of the EU Batteries Regulation is that many details to operationalise the obligations are not contained in the regulation itself but will be specified by the EU Commission by means of by-laws or so-called Delegated Acts or Implementing Acts. The regulation sets deadlines until the point when the Commission needs to have adopted the by-laws; should the process be delayed, the obligations will enter into force later. The timeline below provides a non-exhaustive overview of deadlines set out in the EU Batteries Regulation.
Timeline for battery legislation
Figure 2: Deadlines and dates related to manufacturers obligations included in the EU Batteries Regulation
Staying one step ahead of the new requirements
The new EU Batteries Regulation aims for a sustainable lifecycle of batteries. With a strong track record in supporting the European Commission (see below) and industry with battery-related projects, Ramboll is ready to help manufacturers comply with the new requirements. Specifically by:
- Assisting with manufacturers’ obligations: Assisting clients to identify applicable obligations for all types of batteries and discussing definitions and exemptions from scope. Ramboll has a strong track record assisting clients to assess manufacturers’ obligations under EU legislation, with high-level overviews and gap analyses.
- Providing international support: Delivering an international overview of legislation and policy trends related to batteries in different geographies. From previous projects, Ramboll has an excellent overview of regulations and forthcoming trends in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the US, with insights outside those regions. Our global network of specialists positions us to support clients on an international scale.
Project experience
Regulatory support for a client (battery manufacturer) on the implications of the new EU Battery Regulation
- Ramboll advises the client on the implications of the new EU Batteries Regulation for manufacturers of batteries who want to place their product on the EU internal market. The focus is on the producer's obligations, but the service also included additional support on battery categorisation, registration practices, legal issues and timelines.
Technical support to implement the new EU Battery Regulation between 2023 and 2025
- Ramboll is currently supporting the European Commission with the development of secondary legislation for the new EU Batteries Regulation. Here, we will assess possibilities for the standardisation of charging devices for certain batteries and how a legal obligation for standardised charging cables could be drafted. New labels for batteries will also be designed as part of this process.
In summary, the new EU Batteries Regulation sets very ambitious requirements covering the entire life cycle of different battery types. Manufacturers and other stakeholders are faced with more obligations to fulfil the new sustainability and recycling targets as well as to achieve responsible sourcing and a lower carbon footprint. With its holistic approach, the Regulation may become a blueprint for other EU legislation currently under revision. Sustainability will no longer be nice-to-have, but a firm obligation.

“With a strong track record in supporting the European Commission and industry with battery-related projects, Ramboll is ready to help manufacturers comply with the new requirements.”

Felicitas Frick
Senior Consultant, Ramboll Environment & Health

Want to know more?

  • Felicitas Frick

    Senior Consultant

    +49 1522 2583947

  • Ferdinand Zotz

    Principal, Circular Economy and Resource Management

    +49 89 978970141

  • Deborah Spillane

    Global MarComm Lead

    +45 53 67 10 43