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Battery Passports: A New Trend in the Industry for 2023

As we enter 2023, battery passports are becoming a hot topic within the industry. In March, Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Ningde Times, submitted a proposal to the 14th National People’s Congress, calling for research on China’s power battery passports, supporting policies, and strengthening the full life cycle management of battery products. This initiative is particularly aimed at addressing carbon footprint, ESG, recycling traceability, and cascade utilization concerns.

Battery passports, which are digital twins of physical batteries, enable consumers to easily access their battery’s status, history, and overall quality. At the Forum of 100 Electric Vehicles earlier this month, Liang Rui, Vice President of SUNWODA, highlighted that battery passports are essentially data management systems for the battery life cycle, designed to bring more transparency to the global battery value chain.

Originating in Europe, battery passports were first proposed by the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) in 2019. GBA, founded by the World Economic Forum, consists of members from various sectors of the battery industry, with European giants such as Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, BASF, and Volkswagen being particularly active. From 2021, battery passports were recognized at high-level international conferences, such as G7 and the OECD.

The EU’s “New Battery Law” states that from 2026, all newly purchased electric vehicle (EV) batteries, light vehicle (LMT) batteries, and large industrial batteries must have a battery passport to enter the European market. However, the current dominance of EU companies in the GBA raises concerns about the fairness and inclusiveness of the battery passport system, and its potential to become a regional green trade barrier.

GBA’s battery passport aims to provide detailed battery manufacturing history and usage information for all stakeholders involved in the whole life cycle. The passport’s significance lies in recording the proportion of renewable energy and recycled materials used in the battery production process, monitoring battery health, and retracing and scoring the historical information of the battery. The battery passport appears as an end-to-end, all-encompassing “integrated service platform”, with governments and leading enterprises playing a crucial role in its development.

Chinese companies are also actively participating in the battery passport initiative. For instance, Ningde Times joined GBA’s board of directors in December 2022, while Xinwoda became a new member of the organization in April 2023. Other companies, like China Molybdenum Co., Ltd., are also involved in GBA projects.

With battery passports becoming an international consensus across different tracks both in China and globally, more companies are expected to contribute to the development of unified international standards. The introduction of blockchain and artificial intelligence technology will be essential for ensuring openness, transparency, and tamper-proof information within the battery passport system, offering even greater application potential in the future.

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