Motivation Behind the Pilot

Interoperable, privacy-preserving, and trusted multiparty track-and-trace systems are needed to effectively manage assets in the value chain and empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions with confidence. Greater asset transparency can streamline operations and lead to more resilient and greener global supply chains, helping to promote sustainable and ethical sourcing, reduce bottlenecks, and simplify business processes for asset tracking, maintenance, and recalls. 

With the exponential rise of electric vehicles (EVs) comes an increased demand for EV parts. In the U.S. alone, electric batteries landed in the top 3 imports for September 2021. Globally, EVs are projected to make up 31% of all light-duty vehicles by 2050. This increased demand — in addition to recent proposed legislation such as the EU’s carbon border tax — puts pressure on suppliers, vehicle manufacturers (OEMs), and dealers to ensure a safe, secure, efficient, and sustainable EV parts supply chain.

While Citopia partsTRAK will be applicable to value chains of all types, the first pilot focuses on improving downstream and upstream supply chain traceability for the most expensive part of an EV: the battery. The ability to track and trace battery components, material sourcing, and manufacturing using partsTRAK will greatly enhance visibility in the value chain, enabling applications such as global battery passports, battery state of health (SOH), battery second life, recall management, and many more. 

As mandated by policy initiatives like the European Commission’s Sustainable Batteries Regulation and CARB’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Requirements, it is critical to have digital records of the battery lifecycle and ensure ESG guidelines are met. This regulation has implications for several stakeholders, including suppliers, OEMs, and dealers. 

The Innovation

Citopia partsTRAK uses MOBI Standards, along with standards from W3C, ISO, IEEE, SAE, and Zero Knowledge Proof cryptography to ensure that the Self-Sovereign Digital Twins (SSDTs) of ecosystem stakeholders such as EV batteries, manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers are compatible, can communicate, and can transact while preserving data privacy.

Track-and-trace on Citopia partsTRAK leverages the MOBI Trusted Trip™ Standard to link a battery’s self-sovereign identity with its time-stamped location and pertinent metadata into a verifiable trip, a Verifiable Credential (VC). These trips, along with any transactions (VCs) made along the way, are executed on Citopia and stored in the battery’s SSDT. These Battery VCs enable the creation of a verifiable chain of custody of the EV battery and its components from supplier to OEM, OEM to dealer, and dealer to vehicle owner. For EV batteries needing to be serviced or replaced, the pilot tracked the upstream flow of the battery and components from vehicle owner to supplier.

The Integrated Trust Network (ITN) provides trusted decentralized identity services for stakeholders while Citopia facilitates the onboarding of SSDTs™ and issuance of VCs. Most of the information sharing during the upstream/downstream chain of custody is conducted through VCs off-chain and the hash of the VC is stored on-chain for timestamp and verifications. The use of MOBI Web3 infrastructure, SSDTs, VCs, and DIDs prevent data correlation. Citopia and ITN are separated for decentralization, no one entity has all the information to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

What the Pilot Demonstrates, Results, and Next Steps 

The pilot showed a simplified traceability flow for maintaining a verifiable chain of custody in the EV battery supply chain with multiple stakeholders. To achieve this, a Battery Birth Certificate was issued by the supplier. The Battery Birth Certificate contains important battery information, such as serial numbers, energy capacity, chemical composition, charging, and discharging characteristics. The Battery Birth Certificate was linked with the battery components in order to establish a provable association between the credential and the physical asset. The Battery Birth Certificate was then transferred to different stakeholders, creating a chain of custody (Verifiable Presentations) that can be used to prove the chain of custody. Later, the battery credential was linked with the Vehicle Birth Certificate (stored in a vehicle’s SSDT, defined by the MOBI VID) when installed by the OEM.

When dealing with faulty batteries that were returned to the supplier, RevocationList2020 from W3C’s VC standard was implemented to revoke the vehicle or battery credentials if components of the vehicle or battery were changed.

The pilot was successfully demonstrated in May (downstream flow) and June (upstream flow) 2022, presenting a workflow for using VCs to reliably track and trace assets in the supply chain, demonstrating the full lifecycle of a VC from issuance, presentation, verification, and revocation. All of these capabilities will be integrated in the ongoing development of Battery SSDT™ and the global Battery Passport. The Supply Chain Working Group is currently exploring use cases for the second release of Citopia partsTRAK.

The Supply Chain Working Group is chaired by BMW and Ford with the support from Accenture, AIOI, Anritsu, Arxum, ASJade Tech, Aucnet, AutoData Group, AWS, Blockedge, CEVT, Dana, DENSO, DLT Labs, DMX, Fifth-9, Hitachi, Honda, IBM, IOTA, ITOCHU, Marelli, Nara Institute, Politecnico Di Torino, Quantstamp, R3, Reply, Stellantis, SyncFab, Thirdware, TICO, and Vinturas.