The European Commission presented its proposal for Euro 7 standards to reduce air pollution from new motor vehicles sold in the EU. While CO2 emission rules will drive the deployment of zero-emission vehicles, it is important to ensure that all vehicles on European roads are much cleaner, the EC said.
In 2035, all cars and vans sold in the EU are to have zero CO2 emissions. However, in 2050, more than 20% of cars and vans and more than half of the heavier vehicles are expected to continue to emit pollutants from the tailpipe. Battery electric vehicles also still cause pollution from brakes and microplastics from tires. Euro 7 rules will reduce all these emissions and keep vehicles affordable to consumers, the EC said.
The Euro 7 proposal replaces and simplifies previously separate emission rules for cars and vans (Euro 6) and trucks and buses (Euro VI). The Euro 7 standards rules bring emission limits for all motor vehicles, i.e., cars, vans, buses and lorries under a single set of rules. The new rules are fuel- and technology-neutral, placing the same limits regardless of whether the vehicle uses gasoline, diesel, electric drive-trains or alternative fuels. They will help to:
Better control emissions of air pollutants from all new vehicles: by broadening the range of driving conditions that are covered by the on-road emissions tests. These will now better reflect the range of conditions that vehicles can experience across Europe, including temperatures of up to 45 °C or short trips typical of daily commutes.
Update and tighten the limits for pollutant emissions: limits will be tightened for trucks and buses while the lowest existing limits for cars and vans will now apply regardless of the fuel used by the vehicle. The new rules also set emission limits for previously unregulated pollutants, such as nitrous oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
Regulate emissions from brakes and tires: the Euro 7 standards rules will be the first worldwide emission standards to move beyond regulating exhaust pipe emissions and set additional limits for particulate emissions from brakes and rules on microplastic emissions from tires. These rules will apply to all vehicles, including electric ones.
Ensure that new cars stay clean for longer: all vehicles will need to comply with the rules for a longer period than until now. Compliance for cars and vans will be checked until these vehicles reach 200,000 kilometers and 10 years of age. This doubles the durability requirements existing under Euro 6/VI rules (100,000 kilometers and 5 years of age). Similar increases will take place for buses and trucks.
Support the deployment of electric vehicles: the new rules will regulate the durability of batteries installed in cars and vans in order to increase consumer confidence in electric vehicles. This will also reduce the need for replacing batteries early in the life of a vehicle, thus reducing the need for new critical raw materials required to produce batteries.
Make full use of digital possibilities: Euro 7 rules will ensure that vehicles are not tampered with and emissions can be controlled by the authorities in an easy way by using sensors inside the vehicle to measure emissions throughout the lifetime of a vehicle.
The Commission’s proposal will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council in view of its adoption by the co-legislators.
In 2035, Euro 7 will lower total NOx emissions from cars and vans by 35% compared to Euro 6, and by 56% compared to Euro VI from buses and trucks. At the same time, particles from the tailpipe will be lowered by 13% from cars and vans, and 39% from buses and lorries, while particles from the brakes of a car will be lowered by 27%.
Following the Dieselgate scandal, the Commission has introduced new tests to measure emissions on the road (the RDE method) and increased the market surveillance powers of Member States and the Commission, in order to ensure that vehicles are as clean as expected by the Euro 6 norms.
European environmental NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) called the Euro 7 proposal “shockingly weak” and said it is now critical that the European Parliament strengthens these standards or simply rejects them.