The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the National Energy Administration recently jointly issued the Interim Measures for the Administration of Recycling Traction Batteries of New Energy Vehicles (the “Interim Measures”) to promote the comprehensive utilization of resources, protect the environment and human health, ensure safety, and promote the sustainable and healthy development of the new energy automotive industry. The Interim Measures, which will go into effect on August 1, 2018, stipulate the design, production, and recovery responsibilities of traction batteries, the comprehensive utilization of traction batteries, and their supervision and administration. Details are provided as follows:
1. Design, production and recycling responsibilities
As far as the design is concerned, the Interim Measures stipulate that battery manufacturers shall adopt a standardized form design that allows easy dismantling, and the manufacturers shall negotiate an open interface and communications protocol for the battery’s control systems that are conducive to recycling and enables the dismantling and easy recycling of fixed parts of traction batteries.
As far as production is concerned, the Interim Measures require battery manufacturers to implement serial codes for their batteries and allow automobile manufacturers to record such serial codes for uploading to the traceability information system.
For recycling, the Interim Measures provide that automobile manufacturers shall assume the main responsibility for the battery recycling process, and the other relevant enterprises will also be held responsible for the corresponding steps in traction battery recycling. Specifically, automobile manufacturers are responsible for recording information about the owners of new energy vehicles, establishing maintenance service networks, setting up recycling outlets, and releasing technical information such as battery maintenance and replacement. Those that offer after-sale services and battery leases for new energy vehicles shall be required to verify vehicle owner information when providing battery maintenance and replacement services, and transport waste batteries to regular recycling service outlets. Such batteries shall not be unilaterally transferred to another.
In addition, the Interim Measures also provide that automobile manufacturers and enterprises that recycle and dismantle scrapped automobiles can share information such as traction battery dismantling and storage technologies, recycling service outlets, and the recycling of scrapped new energy vehicles.
2. Comprehensive utilization
In order to carry out multi-level, multi-purpose and reasonable use of waste traction batteries, reduce overall energy consumption, improve energy efficiency, improve the level of comprehensive utilization and economic benefits, and ensure the environmental-friendly disposal of non-utilizable remains, the Interim Measures encourage battery manufacturers to cooperate with comprehensive utilization enterprises and, use waste batteries in accordance with the principle of recycling after staged utilization as long as safety and control can be ensured.
For those engaging in staged utilization, the Interim Measures require that the staged utilization enterprises shall follow the technical dismantling information provided by the automobile manufacturers in the categorization and reconstruction of waste traction batteries, implement serial codes for the reconstructed batteries and then transfer them to a recycling enterprise after storing them together.
For recycling enterprises, the Interim Measures require that they also dismantle and recycle such products according to the technical dismantling information provided by the automobile manufacturers. The remaining unusable portions after recycling shall be disposed of in manners not harmful to the environment.
3. Supervision and administration
In terms of supervision and management, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will, together with the national standardization authorities, explore the formulation of technical standards for traction battery recycling related operations such as dismantling, packaging and transportation, residual power detection, staged utilization, recovery of materials and safety and environmental protection. In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine are responsible for establishing a unified traceability information system and will set up an information sharing mechanisms in conjunction with relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Commerce. Meanwhile, the Interim Measures also point out that all organizations and individuals have the right to report and expose to the relevant authorities any act that violates the Interim Measures.
In general, the Interim Measures clarify the responsibilities and obligations of the participants in each aspect of the traction battery recycling process and are focused on establishing a design, production and recycling network in which every step is controlled, allowing the sources of traction batteries to be traced and their whereabouts tracked. Although this will increase the compliance obligations of enterprises to a certain extent, it is more conducive to the protection of the environment and the healthy development of the new energy automotive industry.