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Will EU blockchain investment and incoming EV battery passports finally commercialise blockchain mobility use cases?
Incoming battery regulations and EU blockchain technology investment offer a real opportunity for commercial use cases.
Right now, two key priorities preoccupy the minds of automakers developing vehicles to take us from now into the future. Safety always comes first. But the second is the transition to all-electric vehicles and carbon reduction in line with EU regulations. And the secret weapon for greater vehicle sustainability just might involve blockchain technology.
It's not the industry’s first rodeos when it comes to blockchain.
Over the last decade, almost every major automaker has struggled with problems like mileage fraud prevention, usage-based insurance and identity verification.
They are also anticipating what future autonomous mobility will mean, so they’ve looked to resolve vehicle identity verification to facilitate car-to-car transactions. This has led to a decade of experimentation with blockchain proof-of-concepts or pilots.
But while there’s been promise, none of these has ever made it to market.
In the mid-2010s, blockchain pilots looked to solve mobility challenges. For simplicity, I will use the term blockchain technology in this article simply because it is most familiar to those broadly interested in the tech without a deep understanding of distributed ledger technology (DLT) such as IOTA’s Tangle or Hyperledger Fabric – the rest of you, if you know you know. But let’s get back to the mobility projects.
But now, auto manufacturing has a challenge and blockcain technology can be part of the solution.
EU Battery passports and circularity are the next mobility industry challenge – and it’s an opportunity for blockchain startups
Next year kicks off the expansion of global regulations for batteries and the origin of critical but not infinite materials like cobalt and lithium.
New EU Battery Regulations are rolling out that require battery makers (and users like carmakers) to consider the battery lifecycle from R&D to mining source materials, closing material recycling loops, and battery end-of-life management over time.
Part of the plan is a compulsory "battery passport" containing data and descriptions about the manufacturing history and provenance as well as advancing battery life extension and enabling recycling.
A battery passport might look like this. (Image credit: Circularise)
Each passport operates as a digital twin (a digital representation of a physical product) of a physical battery and must clearly show the battery's embedded CO2 emissions, compliance with ethical production standards, and a growing amount of recycled content.
This creates an opportunity for blockchain technology to shine. Digital product passports need to ensure all stakeholders and data are authenticated and fully protected. A blockchain platform makes it possible to verify the provenance, chemistry and identity of batteries and measure their environmental impact without data tampering risks.
And there are already proven use cases. Leather manufacturers Bridge of Weir has trialled the use of blockchain technology with traceability provider Circulor, to use blockchain to help trace materials, share sensitive data without risking privacy, and automate mass reporting using blockchain software. The leather is used in car interiors for brands like Jaguar Land Rover, and Polestar.
Comparatively, in the US, SyncFab has used blockchain technology for the provenance, tracking, and authenticity of automotive parts for several years.
These use cases create a successful precedent for the incoming supply chain sustainability regulations enabling a circular economy at scale.