Steering extended producer responsibility for electric vehicle batteries

Louis Dawson, Jyoti Ahuja, Robert Lee

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Abstract

The UK Government has announced its plans to bring forward the deadline for phasing out all petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2030, 10 years earlier than planned. This is a radical acceleration in the transition to electric mobility. The need to draw up coherent and robust UK regulatory structures for managing the end-of-life consequences of this transition is now more urgent than ever. This article explores the potential role of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in facilitating the safe and sustainable management of electric vehicle (EV) batteries at their end of life. It outlines the current EV battery problem from the perspective of end-of-life management, before exploring the utility of EPR in achieving a circular economy approach and reviewing the current EPR frameworks that would apply to this waste stream once a battery is no longer powerful enough to drive an EV. We conclude that current EPR frameworks for battery management are neither sufficiently clear nor suitably robust to ensure safe and sustainable electric lithium ion battery management and suggest how these could be remodelled to achieve better outcomes in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-143
JournalEnvironmental Law Review
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online date3 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2021

Keywords

  • Batteries Directive
  • EPR
  • End-of-Life Vehicles Directive
  • batteries and waste batteries regulation
  • electric vehicles
  • extended producer responsibility

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