The European Parliament this week adopted a legislative report for the implementation of Euro 5 emissions standards beginning 1 September 2009 for private cars (M1), with a transition period extending up to 1 January 2011. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarded the 18-month implementation deadline suggested by the Commission—which wanted to introduce Euro 5 standards in mid-2008—as too early.
The Parliament vote still needs to be confirmed by the EU Member States. A political agreement is expected early during the German EU Presidency.
The standards will begin to apply to vehicles with a maximum laden weight of more than 2,500 kg or to seat seven or more people and light commercial vehicles (N1) 1 September 2010, with transition periods extending until 1 January 2012.
The new legislation also requires information on vehicle repairs to be easily available to independent repairers.
The Euro 5 standards will cut permitted PM (particles) emissions from new diesel cars by 80% compared to the Euro 4 standards. The Euro 6 standards will cut permitted nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from diesel cars by roughly 50% compared with Euro 5, which might force application of NOx after treatment technology such as lean NOx traps (LNT) or Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).
Parliament tightened the EC’s proposed Euro 5 limit values for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) for compression ignition (CI) vehicles by a further 10%—i.e. 180 mg/km rather than 200 mg/km as earlier specified.
Parliament also voted to retain the Euro 4 standard for “total hydrocarbons” to support the use of CNG-fueled vehicles, and to introduce into the tables in Annex I an additional column for “non-methane hydrocarbons” so that a tougher hydrocarbons limit value is retained for gasoline-powered vehicles.
For the subsequent Euro-6 standards, MEPs are suggesting September 2014 for private cars (M1) and 1 September 2015 for light commercial vehicles (N1). Transition periods would run up to 1 September 2015 and 1 September 2016 respectively.
Without further strengthening of the NOx limits, however, Euro 6 standards will not meet the US EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 / CA LEV II requirements for passenger cars, meaning that Euro 6 cars—not due for 8+ years—would not qualify for 50-state sale in the US now.
European environmental groups reacted negatively to the implementation timing.
The European Parliament has thrown away the opportunity to fix many of Europe’s severe urban air quality problems using technologies that are already available. Instead, Europeans will have to wait until 2015 to buy a diesel car as clean as those already on sale in America.—Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), however, commented that the limits are extremely challenging, and that their implementation will likely have a negative impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions by affecting the market for small diesel cars.
The European car industry will do its utmost to meet the extremely ambitious targets within the set time frame. What concerns us, is that the proposed limit values will not only be extremely difficult to meet, but will have a significant counter-productive effect on reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars. They also pose a serious risk for the market of small diesel cars.—Ivan Hodac, secretary general ACEA