Power up your supply chain with RFID enabled labels for electric vehicle batteries

Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the fast track as the race for sustainable abundance mobilizes globally. New regulations like the EU's proposal to cut 100% of CO2 emissions from cars by 2035 are gaining momentum as major automotive manufactures -- including Volvo and Mercedes-Benz -- pledge to phase out the sales of petrol models. On top of this, the cost of lithium-ion is on the decline, giving EVs a competitive advantage as they reach the same price levels as traditional combustion engine vehicles. 

Boston Consulting Group predicts that over 50% of global light vehicle sales in 2026 will be electric, and with the shortening of supply chains, manufacturers will need to be efficient to keep up with the EV boom. Our automotive product and technical experts here at Avery Dennison provide insights into how RFID labeling technology for EV batteries can increase supply chain integrity, resulting in faster asset management and a sustainable end of life.

Fewer parts but more opportunities: 

As the lithium-ion battery manufacturing sector ramps up, it's important to understand how the connectivity of its parts are essential in the assembly of electric vehicles.

"Internal combustion engine cars consist on average of 30,000 parts, compared to EV with only around 10,000,” says Ulrike Steinfort, Technical Marketing Manager at Avery Dennison. “But even though there are fewer parts, the possibilities for labeling increases. Functional materials that offer protection and intelligent labels with connectivity will emerge. "

Enabling a system that will track the complete production process is necessary for a battery with many components -- like sensors and electromechanical devices -- to function properly. RFID and digital ID technologies enable solutions that result in a dramatic increase in production efficiency. 

EV batteries

Intelligent labels for better EV battery operations

Improve production, stay competitive

Asset tracking with RFID improves efficiency on the EV battery production line and controls where goods are in the warehouse. This holistic view of vehicle components enables a supply chain solution that benefits automotive manufacturers hoping to maintain profit margins in highly competitive global markets.

"Working with RFID provides very efficient ways to speed up just-in-time deliveries and enables full control over the value chain and inventory levels," says Martin Dolezal, Product Manager Automotive & Transportation Labels at Avery Dennison. "In the last years, there were just a few units of RFID equipped parts per automobile, but now there are dozens, and that number will continue to increase." 

Furthermore, data from intelligent labeling can improve the steps in production that can lead to product optimizations. For example, RFID will give manufacturers visibility into car battery maintenance. This data can inform decisions for better battery design, thus increasing brand trust and customer loyalty. 

Safe battery disposal

If we look beyond the production floor, the ability to track EV batteries supports a more sustainable future. 

"RFID enabled labels ensure that each battery cell will have its own digital identity," says Martin Dolezal. "Once the battery's life ends, it will still be identified in today's digital world and can be repurposed, refurbished, or recycled."

The ability to locate, collect batteries and deliver them to a recycling center keeps heavy metals out of landfills. In addition, data collected from RFID can report statistics on how many batteries are recycled and where. This information can inform battery collection programs.  

EV batteries

Challenges in RFID labeling on EV batteries

When considering RFID for EV battery labeling, it is important to recognize potential challenges. The sudden boost in the industry has uncovered missing specifications and new label requirements that need proper testing. 

"The biggest watch-out is the substrates RFID enabled labels are being applied to," says Ulrike Steinfort. "Electromagnetic waves that communicate with the RFID inlays have the potential to be absorbed, or even shielded by the surrounding parts, and cannot be read. Problems can also occur when liquids or metals are close to the RFID labels." 

As we get more clarity on EV battery substrates and the materials they require, we can better prepare suppliers with suitable label constructions. 

Shaping the future of Industry 4.0

Avery Dennison has already developed solutions for EV batteries and is constantly testing new, innovative label materials. 

"To combat the problem of RFID labels being unreadable due to metal surface interference, we have developed an 'on-metal inlay' solution, which provides an air gap between the battery cell substrate and antenna," says Ulrike Steinfort. "These inlays are designed to have reliable reading performance for direct-to-metal tagging and are suitable for applications near liquids."

Avery Dennison EV battery solutions can help OEMs and suppliers take advantage of this emerging market. For more information on labeling materials EV batteries, contact your Avery Dennison representative. Discover Avery Dennison's RFID solutions for electric vehicle batteries, or have a look at our intelligent labeling brochure.