Directive 2000/53 / EC on end-of-life vehicles (ELV Directive) restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in vehicles. The directive contains a list of exemptions to these use restrictions, which are regularly adapted to scientific and technical progress. The adaptation process is via a revision (every 4 to 5 years) of the existing directive. The industry concerned must prepare a technical dossier clearly and comprehensibly explaining why the exemption is needed. This dossier is critically assessed by a consulting consortium and compared with the literature, information and products available on the market. Based on this assessment, the consultant makes a proposal to the EU Commission as to whether the exemption should be extended or should expire. As a rule, the Commission follows the proposal. The current exemption 3 “Copper alloy containing up to 4 % lead by weight” (Cu with 4% Pb) is valid until 2021 and is currently undergoing a revision. The various working groups under the umbrella of ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) are already active for a new assessment of the situation regarding alternative materials on the market. ACEA has carried out a number of preliminary tests with new Pb-free materials. The results have been included in the report accompanying the reviewers’ requests and have been submitted.
What to do during the revision period?
As a rule, the duration of the revision goes well beyond the period of validity of the exemptions. This time will be no different. The process is not expected to be completed before 2022; even less before July 2021. As long as the process is ongoing, the exception will remain valid. If, contrary to expectations, the Commission does not extend the exemption, then a period for conversion will take effect that can last between twelve months and several years.
The Kupferverband supports and assists the automotive industry with regard to the technical aspects of materials. It informs its members and coordinates the coordination processes within the copper network regionally, nationally and globally.