European Union offers world’s toughest emissions rules for new cars
The toughest laws in the motoring world are proposed with an “almost impossible” deadline of 2025 – as Europe aims for zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
The European Union offered a revamped proposal for the world’s toughest exhaust emissions for new motor vehicles from mid-2025, vans, trucks and buses to align with “almost impossible” targets two years later.
The proposed laws – called “Euro 7” – will focus on reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 35%, with all vehicles to be limited to 60 milligrams of NOx per kilometer, bringing diesel vehicles in line with their gasoline counterparts. .
The change represents a 25% reduction in NOx emissions from diesel cars, and is estimated to contribute to a 50% reduction in total NOx emissions from automobiles by 2035 (compared to 2018 levels).
In a world first, vehicles will also be subject to non-exhaust emissions, with limits set on the levels of particles emitted by tires and brakes.
Regulating brake dust could force automakers to speed up the introduction of regenerative braking technology, which harvests energy from slowing vehicles and turns it into electricity for on-board batteries, rather than relying on clamping force of the brake pads on the discs to slow a vehicle. .
New cars and trucks will need to be fitted with on-board emissions monitoring systems (OBMs) to ensure that pollutants are kept within legal limits.
Additionally, these limits must be met for up to 200,000 kilometers or 10 years, doubling the current distance and age requirements for vehicles to remain compliant.
Industry insiders have accused the European Union of setting “unrealistic” and “nearly impossible” emissions reduction targets, but few will say so publicly.
Current “Euro 6” laws regulate exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particulates, hydrocarbons, methane and ammonia for heavy vehicles.
The new Euro 7 proposal extends ammonia limits for all vehicles, as well as capping the production of formaldehyde gas and nitrous oxide (N2O).
In Australia, new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (such as vans and vans) are only required to meet “Euro 5” emissions standards, which were introduced in Europe in 2009.
According to the European Union‘s latest proposal, the new Euro 7 standards will eventually apply to all vehicles sold in Europe, whether petrol, diesel, electric, hydrogen or heavy goods vehicles or buses.
However, “simplified rules” and exceptions will apply to vehicles built by “small volume manufacturers, to take into account the specificities linked to limited production”.
While the average age of cars on European roads is 12 years (compared to just over 10 in Australia), the European Commission – the region’s executive arm – says the new emissions targets have been designed to reduce fleet-wide pollution levels as it works towards zero emissions targets by 2035.
The Commission says the proposed changes will have consequences beyond Europe.
“There will also be benefits for export markets, as several countries outside the [European Union]such as Australia, Brazil, China or India [as these countries] tend to base their rules on the Euro issuance rules.
Modeling suggests the changes will add between $140 and $230 to the cost of new cars, but more than $4,000 to trucks and buses.
“The estimated environmental benefits in terms of avoided health impacts from air pollution far outweigh these costs for manufacturers, consumers and authorities, by a ratio of more than five to one,” says the European Commission.
The proposed Euro 7 laws will also introduce battery durability standards for electric vehicles to “raise awareness and build consumer confidence”, while plug-in hybrids could be forced to switch to purely electric driving when they enter conditions. designated town centers.
Environmental groups have slammed the Euro 7 proposal as ‘watered down’ – following a June 2021 report which suggested the new rules would effectively ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
Auto industry figures have criticized the regulations as unbalanced, flawed and nearly impossible.
“Unfortunately, the environmental benefit of the Commission’s proposal is very limited, while it strongly increases the cost of vehicles,” said the CEO of BMW and president of the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).
“It focuses on extreme driving conditions that have virtually no real-life relevance.”
Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group CEO and chairman of ACEA’s Commercial Vehicles Council, says the changes will force manufacturers to withdraw resources from the development of zero-emission vehicles to work instead on meeting emissions regulations for vehicles. gasoline and diesel vehicles.
“To comply with the Euro 7 standard, truck manufacturers will have to reallocate significant technical and financial resources from battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to the internal combustion engine. This will have a big impact on our transition to zero-emission vehicles,” said Lundstedt.
“It’s not good for the climate, not good for people’s health and not good for industry.”