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Environment - Understanding the environment and the impacts of green technologies
“To provide a clear overview of sustainable battery technology to advance electric vehicle development in Europe.”

The problem

Electric vehicles (EV) can improve air quality and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The car industry in Europe is technologically ready to start producing EVs. However, concern about the possible banning of nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries has slowed market development. Currently, cadmium is temporarily exempt from an EC directive limiting heavy metal use in vehicles. There is a need for a comprehensive policy-orientated assessment of battery technology, in terms of cost and environmental benefits, to clarify the situation and enable the EV sector to move forward.

SUBAT  Assessing sustainable battery options for electric vehicles


SUBAT will address the need for an independent assessment of sustainable battery technology.

The project will provide:

  • A technology assessment on the performance of all available battery types in EVs
  • An environmental assessment to identify battery types that offer the best sustainable energy solution
  • An economic assessment, at both the micro level (e.g. production costs) and macro level (e.g. impact on European trade balance), of the viability of EVs fitted with different battery types
  • An overall assessment for policy-makers to help shape a sustainable transport strategy for the future

Contribution to policy development:

SUBAT will provide:

  • An assessment of alternatives to Ni-Cd batteries in EVs in preparation for a possible ban
  • Input to a review of directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles
  • Policy-makers with information on alternative technology pathways with respect to EVs and other battery applications

Project deliverables

  • Technical assessment – April 2005
  • Environmental assessment – April 2005
  • Economic assessment – April 2005
  • Overall assessment – April 2005


  • Project website – January 2004
  • Final workshop – March 2005
  • Final report – April 2005

Technical information

Project acronym: SUBAT
Project’s official full title: Sustainable Batteries
Research priority: 1.6. Assessment of environmental technologies for support of policy decisions, in particular concerning effective but low-cost technologies in the context of fulfilling environmental legislation.
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 502490
Start date: 01/01/2004
Kick off meeting: 23/01/2004
Completion date: 31/03/2005
European Commission scientific officer: Vincent Favrel (

Name: Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Abbreviated name: VUB
Address: Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussels
Country: Belgium
Tel: +32 2 629 2363
Fax: +32 2 629 3620


Name: Association du véhicule électrique routier européen
Abbreviated name: AVERE
Country: Belgium

Name: Centre d'études et de recherches sur les véhicules électriques et hybrides
Abbreviated name: CEREVEH
Country: France

Name: Association of cities interested in electric vehicles
Abbreviated name: CITELEC
Country: Belgium

Name: Comitato Elettrotecnico Italiano
Abbreviated name: CEI
Country: Italy

Name: Université Libre de Bruxelles
Abbreviated name: ULB
Country: Belgium

Name: Università di Pisa, Department of Electrical Systems and Automation
Abbreviated name: DESA
Country: Italy