In a groundbreaking move, Volvo Cars is set to launch the world’s first electric vehicle battery passport, a digital record detailing the origins of raw materials, components, recycled content, and carbon footprint for its flagship EX90 SUV. This innovative initiative is being implemented ahead of the European Union’s mandatory battery passport regulations for EVs, which will come into effect in February 2027.

A Leap Towards Transparency and Sustainability

Developed in partnership with U.K. startup Circulor, the battery passport uses blockchain technology to map and trace supply chains meticulously. This project, which took over five years to develop, represents a significant step towards greater transparency in the automotive industry. Volvo, owned by China’s Geely, aims to produce only full-electric cars by 2030, and this initiative underscores their commitment to sustainability.

Volvo’s head of global sustainability, Vanessa Butani, emphasized the importance of pioneering such efforts. “It’s really important for us to be a pioneer and a leader,” she told Reuters, highlighting the company’s proactive stance nearly three years ahead of the regulatory requirement.

Features and Implementation

The EX90 SUV, equipped with this battery passport, is set to commence production at Volvo’s Charleston, South Carolina plant. Deliveries to customers in Europe and North America are expected from the second half of the year. The passport will be accessible to Volvo owners through a QR code located inside the driver’s door, providing a simplified version of the comprehensive information.

A more detailed version of the passport, which includes up-to-date information on the battery’s state of health, will be provided to regulators. This information is crucial for assessing the value of used EVs over a period of up to 15 years. According to Circulor CEO Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, the cost of this passport system is approximately $10 per car.

Tracing the Entire Supply Chain

Circulor’s system is designed to trace battery materials from the mine to the individual car. It integrates with suppliers’ production systems to monitor materials throughout the supply chain. This includes checking suppliers’ monthly energy bills and the proportion of energy sourced from renewables to calculate the total carbon footprint. To maintain current and accurate information, Circulor audits any new suppliers that Volvo brings on board.

This initiative has necessitated changes in Volvo’s manufacturing processes to trace the origins of every part in every vehicle. “Car manufacturing has never been about which rock went into which component and which got connected to which car,” said Johnson-Poensgen. “It’s taken a long time to figure that out.

Global Implications and Future Prospects

While the U.S. does not yet mandate battery passports, there is significant interest from automakers due to potential requirements to qualify for EV subsidies under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. This interest could drive broader adoption of similar systems across the industry.

Volvo’s investment in Circulor, alongside other major players such as Jaguar Land Rover and BHP, underscores the growing recognition of the importance of supply chain transparency and sustainability. However, Johnson-Poensgen notes that there is a rush among automakers to develop battery passports, and even starting now, many may find it challenging to meet the EU’s 2027 deadline.


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