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New EU legislation could bring back user-replaceable batteries

The EU is going well – first it will force smartphone makers to open up their devices to third-party app stores from January 2024, then it will Portable electronics will be mandated to use USB-C starting at the end of 810, and a tentative agreement has now been reached to require portable devices to have user-replaceable functional batteries .

The agreement covers batteries of almost any size – from portable batteries, vehicle starting, lighting and ignition batteries (SLI batteries), to light vehicle batteries (LMT, think electric scooters and bicycles) , electric vehicle (EV) batteries and even industrial batteries.

The legislation – if passed – would give manufacturers three and a half years to retrofit their portable devices so that users can easily remove and replace batteries.

User-replaceable batteries used to be the norm for smartphones, but they’re pretty rare these days. For common bar sizes that should be relatively easy to fit — even dust and water resistance is possible, as evidenced by Samsung’s recent Xcover phones and similar devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Xcover6 Pro is rated IP68 and MIL-STD-810H - and it has an easily removable battery Samsung Galaxy Xcover6 Pro is rated IP63 and MIL-STD-810H – it has an easily removable battery

Foldable phones can be a challenge though, as they often feature two separate batteries, one for each “half” to balance space and weight . They’re connected by ribbon cables, and coming up with a design that’s easy for users to access is going to be difficult. Manufacturers will have 3 1/2 years to fix the issue – again, if the legislation is approved by the EU Parliament and Council.

Each battery is required to have a label and a QR code containing information on capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition and a “collect separately” symbol. In addition, batteries will have a digital passport containing information on both the general battery model and individual batteries.

The agreement was motivated by a strong push for environmental issues. The program sets minimum levels of recycled materials for batteries: 16% of cobalt, 85% lead, 6% lithium and 6% nickel.

To satisfy the recycling process, the EU will require the collection of old batteries: at least 22% of old batteries must be replaced by 2024, 51% by 2028 and 73% by 2024 for portable batteries. For LMT batteries, the number is 61% by 2028 with51% 2031.

In fact, all other batteries, including electric vehicle and industrial batteries, regardless of brand, origin and condition, must be collected from consumers free of charge. In addition, manufacturers selling products in the EU will be required to develop due diligence policies to “address social and environmental risks associated with sourcing, processing and trading raw and secondary raw materials”.

Rapporteur Achille Variati (S&D, IT) said: “For the first time we have circular economy legislation that covers the entire life cycle of products – an approach that is good for the environment and the economy. Agree on measures of great benefit to consumers: Batteries will work better, be safer and be easier to disassemble.Our overall aim is to create a stronger EU recycling industry, lithium in particular, and a competitive industrial sector as a whole, This is crucial for our continent’s energy transition and strategic autonomy in the coming decades. These measures could become a benchmark for the entire global battery market.”

Source | pass



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