2022 Q1 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

It is hard to remember a time when EVs and vehicle batteries were talked about more than in the last three months. With new EV models becoming available, industry partnerships being forged and President Biden praising RBC member company Ford in his State of The Union Address, the current discussion on electric vehicles is nothing short of revolutionary. 

Unquestionably, the demand curve for EV and industrial batteries will continue upward, perhaps exponentially, making the need for a circular economy for the next generation of batteries an imperative. And that is where the work of the RBC, our members, and our research partners will continue to drive innovation as we build a more sustainable future for vehicle and industrial batteries. 

The new year began with some unfinished business from 2021.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) continued its deliberations on several issues, including a battery durability regulation that would require EVs built in 2026 and beyond to have batteries that maintain 80% of their power for at least 15 years. While it is easy to support more durable batteries, the unforeseen and potentially negative consequences to responsible lifecycle management do not seem to have been considered by CARB. Under CARB’s proposed requirements, when a used EV is sold, its battery must have 80% capacity or be replaced by the vehicle’s manufacturer. In our February op-ed published in the Sacramento Bee, I discussed some of the potential impacts of CARB’s proposed durability requirement, including premature replacement of batteries, a strain on material supply, higher new vehicle cost and, perhaps most importantly, increased GHG emissions. 


In March, the latest RBC-sponsored research from the University of Michigan was published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. This new study focuses on best practices for charging and discharging vehicles in commercial fleets, including delivery vehicles. Given the growth in EV delivery vehicles, including RBC member FedEx our research focused on identifying the best methods for managing battery use and charging, and how proper management could potentially impact emissions and lower the cost of vehicle operation. 

The research found that emissions can be reduced up to 25% by optimizing charging practices with relatively simple measures, including time of charge and time to charge. Implementing the practices outlined in this latest research can allow companies to maximize their investment in electrifying their fleet and lowering their emissions profile, as well as strengthening ESG credentials. 


In closing the first quarter of 2022, I want to recognize the great work that was done in a bipartisan effort to ensure that no less than $3million was funded in the FY2022 federal budget for reducing public exposure to lead. Signed by the president, the new law directs that the funds be used in support of a new program to be developed by USAID and focus on key areas of known lead exposure in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This was a particularly tough budget cycle for funding new programs and the RBC was pleased to collaborate with our partners at Pure Earth and Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle to see this bill come to fruition. Bipartisanship is still alive in Washington, D.C., and RBS is proud to be a part of it. 

As we look to the second quarter of this year, we have some exciting announcements coming, including commissioning new research on the cost of EV ownership, as well as a new academic partnership that will support our work on the Battery Passport at the Global Battery Alliance. 

We are also looking forward to the beginning of the “season” for battery collection under the Backhaul Alaska (BHA) program, which RBC helps sponsor and which has now completed its pilot program phase. We’re quite pleased to report that for the 2021 program, we helped BHA retrieve and recycle approximately 100,000 pounds of spent lead acid batteries from some of the most remote areas of the state. This was a more than four-fold increase over the 2019 program year (2020 was skipped due to Covid), and augurs well for continuing to expand the program in coming years. 

Lastly, we are tracking some interesting legislative proposals on battery material production, as well as the implementation of funding sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that provides $500 million to “support grid-scale energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies.”

I think there is a good chance that the second quarter of this year will have batteries front and center, perhaps even more than in the first. 

Steve Christensen, Executive Director 

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News and Updates

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New University of Michigan Study: Electric Vehicle Fleets Could Lower Emissions, Costs

Research Finds that Optimizing EV Delivery Vehicles’ Charging Practices can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Over 25%

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RBC in Sacramento Bee: Misguided proposal for electric car batteries could actually increase California emissions

California has done more than any other state to facilitate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), and it recently announced new measures to do so again. This time, however, it’s pursuing an EV policy whose tradeoffs have not yet been sufficiently evaluated. 

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Member News


FedEx is testing electric carts for last-mile delivery in big U.S. and Canadian cities

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Honda ‘Green Dealer’ Program Leverages 10 Years of Experience to Lead Auto Industry Toward More Environmentally Responsible Dealership Operations

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New Clarios Smart Battery for EVs, Autonomous Vehicles

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Member Spotlight

In February, RBC members Advance Auto Parts and Clarios teamed up to create the automotive battery industry’s first UL validation for a circular economy.

Achieving this validation from UL demonstrates the commitment of our members to find new and innovative ways to develop and implement the best practices for managing the lifecycle of all batteries. This collaboration and new certification can not only serve as an example for others to follow but lays the foundation for other battery chemistries to follow in achieving a verifiable closed-loop system that contributes to a circular economy.

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