Ban on cadmium in electric vehicle batteries

On 27 June, the Commission took the decision to ban the sale of cadmium batteries for electric vehicles by 2005.

The directive on end-of-life vehicles contains a provision
for a ban on heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and
hexavalent chromium from 2003. However, the directive is based on
the principle of substitution, meaning that a derogation from the
ban is possible if no substitute exists. The Commission states that
by 2005 there will be viable alternatives on the market, such as
nickel metal hydride batteries, and in the longer-term lithium-ion

The Commission’s proposal to phase out cadmium
by 2005 came in March this year (see EURACTIV

7 March
), and has now been approved by the
regulatory committee under the Waste Framework Directive. The
decision states that there will be a ban on sales of cadmium
batteries, but there will be no ban on products that are already on
the market.

The debate relates to the revision of the
directive on batteries and accumulators. The Commission has tried
to come up with a proposal for a revision since 1998, but all
attempts have been heavily contested by industry. A draft directive
is now scheduled to be published by the end of 2002. One of the
most difficult issues in the revision will be an eventual ban on
cadmium in all batteries.


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