An Introduction to Digital Battery Passports

A stipulation of an EU regulation addressing the battery supply chain, digital battery passports will provide a wealth of data about EV batteries to interested parties

In July 2023, the European Parliament passed Regulation 2023/1542, which addresses the battery supply chain throughout the European Union. One aspect of the regulation concerns the need for certain rechargeable batteries to have electronic records called “digital battery passports.” Beginning Feb. 18, 2027, these passports will be required for all rechargeable batteries in the EU meeting two requirements:

  • They have capacities greater than 2 kWh
  • They are classified as industrial, electric vehicle and light means of transport (LMT), such as those used with e-bikes and e-scooters.

Digital battery passports will contain complete information about the battery. The EU regulation requires the information to be accessible via QR code.

What information will digital battery passports contain?

Eleo battery modules. (Source: Eleo) From Feb. 18, 2027, digital battery passports will be required for many rechargeable batteries in the EU.

Article 77 of the EU regulation says the battery passport will contain “information relating to the battery model and information specific to the individual battery, including resulting from the use of that battery” as defined elsewhere in the regulation.

The list of information is extensive, with some of the data — such as the battery’s rated capacity, expected lifetime, material composition and carbon footprint information — available to the public and other data — including disassembly instructions and replacement part numbers — available only to “persons with a legitimate interest” and/or the European Commission and other authorities.

What are the benefits of battery passports to end users?

Matthias Kuipers, senior battery expert for Accure Battery Intelligence, said battery passports will bring about improved transparency further down the value chain.

“We have been working with a lot of operators, and from what I’ve seen, many of them do not have a lot of insights into the battery right now,” he said. “Sometimes it’s almost surprising how little information they get. I think they will really benefit from that.”

Max Khabur, director of marketing for lithium-ion battery manufacturer OneCharge and chair of the Advanced Energy Council for supply chain trade association MHI, sees value for fleet managers in particular.

“The current lack of transparency in any battery’s actual state of health (SOH), expected cycle life, maintenance and service history is a barrier to improving equipment utilization,” he said, adding that the structured and complete information contained in the battery passport will improve battery serviceability.

According to Khabur, the data will also assist in properly repurposing batteries by taking the guesswork out of determining battery compatibility with equipment. With lithium-ion batteries in particular, which have an onboard battery management system (BMS), he said that “access to BMS data and software can help update CAN integration protocols with a charger and host vehicle or repurpose a battery for a subsequent application.”

With lithium-ion batteries, which use an onboard battery management system (BMS), Khabur added that the battery passport can help update the BMS’ CAN integration protocols between the charger and the host vehicle.

Will the U.S. follow with its own battery passport regulations?

Emily Burlinghaus, director of policy and research at Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a clean energy network and information hub for local chambers of commerce, has written extensively about the EU regulation. She said she is not aware of a formal plan to implement federal legislation in the U.S. similar to that in the EU.

“All I’ve seen is individual companies pushing for it or joining organizations like the Global Battery Alliance or partnering directly with startups that are developing some sort of blockchain technology to track every aspect of the EV battery supply chain,” she said.

According to its website, the Global Battery Alliance “is a public-private collaboration platform founded in 2017 at the World Economic Forum to help establish a sustainable battery value chain by 2030.”

Burlinghaus added she believed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was working on a battery passport project. The NIST website lists battery passports as an ongoing project of the organization’s Data and AI-Driven Materials Science Group.

According to Burlinghaus, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) might be incentive enough for the U.S. to explore a standardized battery passport mechanism. “I think something like a battery passport might actually be necessary for automakers to comply with the Inflation Reduction Act, especially once you get into like all these additional details that we’re waiting on guidance for, like what constitutes a foreign entity of concern, things like that,” she said. “I think you’re going to need a system where you can track key aspects of the supply chain in order to comply.”


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