The Study

Background of the study

The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2022-2024 constitutes a key part of the EU's energy efficiency goals. It was adopted by the Commission on 30 March 2022 and also covers the work required under the Energy Labelling Framework Regulation (EU/2017/1369) and the European Product Registry for Energy Labelling (EPREL).

In the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2022-2024, electric vehicles chargers were selected as one of the energy-related product groups to be studied for potential ecodesign and energy labelling regulation. They indicate a high energy saving potential of 11 PJ in the utilisation phase by 2030 and a potential increase in annual energy savings of 76 PJ in 2050[1].

In this this context, the European Commission launched a preparatory study on electric vehicles chargers, in order to assess the feasibility of proposing Ecodesign and/or Energy Labelling requirements for these product groups.

This preparatory study against the background of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)

In contrast to previous ecodesign preparatory studies, this study will be carried out witihin the forthcoming ESPR (Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation) context. Together with the 2022-2024 Working Plan, the proposal of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) was published in March 2022[2]. The ESPR Regulation builds on the previously existing Ecodesign Directive, expanding the ecodesign requirements for specific product groups as it enables the setting of performance and information requirements for almost all categories of physical goods placed on the EU market. The framework will allow for the setting of a wide range of requirements, including on:

  • product durability and reliability;
  • product reusability;
  • product upgradability, reparability, maintenance and refurbishment;
  • the presence of substances of concern in products;
  • product energy and resource efficiency;
  • recycled content in products;
  • product remanufacturing and recycling;
  • products’ carbon and environmental footprints
  • products’ expected generation of waste material

Accordingly, the study will examine the potential environmental improvements that can be considered for the product, including aspects relevant to the circular economy as well as standardisation requirements and other relevant features specific to this product, such as data interoperability features for smart charging and bidirectional charging.

The basis for this investigation constitutes the application of a revised Methodology for Ecodesign of Energy-related products (MEErP) approach and the revised EcoReport tool.

Generic structure of the MEErP:

Task 1 – Scope (definitions, standards and legislation);
Task 2 – Markets (volumes and prices);
Task 3 – Users (product demand side);
Task 4 – Technologies (product supply side, includes both Best Available Technology and Best Not-Yet Available Technology);
Task 5 – Environment & Economics (Base case LCA & LCA);
Task 6 – Design options;
Task 7 – Scenarios (Policy, scenario, impact and sensitivity analysis).

Political context and the Ecodesign methodology

Highlights of the political context regarding product policy relevant for this study are:

  • The Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) (ED)
  • The Energy Labelling Framework Regulation ((EU) 2017/1369) (EL)
  • The Circular Economy Action Plans (December 2015 and March 2020) (CEAP)[3]
  • The Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) and the proposal on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)[4]
  • The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2022-2024[5] and specifically the horizontal aspect of recycled content and of scarce, environmentally relevant and critical raw materials, including the technical study behind the Working Plan (Preparatory study for the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan 2020-2024)

Additionally, the European Commission proposal on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), repealing the above-mentioned Ecodesign Framework Directive is currently under discussion following the ordinary legislative procedure. The latest draft of the ESPR has been published on 19th December 2023.[6] The plenary vote of the EU Parliament is envisaged for February 2024, with the adoption of the ESPR expected still in the first half of 2024, i.e. within the project duration of this study.