In a monumental step to combat road transport emissions, the European Union has provisionally agreed upon the Euro 7 regulation, marking a significant advancement in the pursuit of cleaner mobility. The regulation, which emerged from the collaborative efforts of the European Parliament and Council on Monday, sets out new rules encompassing passenger cars, vans, buses, trucks, and trailers, with a focus on maintaining vehicle cleanliness throughout their operational lifespan.
Road transport is the largest source of air pollution in cities. In 2018, more than 39% of NOx and 10% of primary PM2.5 and PM10 emissions in the EU came from road transport. These percentages are much higher in cities, where transport is regularly the main contributor to air pollution. It is estimated that road transport caused about 70 000 premature deaths in the EU-28 in 2018.
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 lorries. 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.
The rules on pollutant emissions are complementary to the rules on CO2 emissions. The agreed target for 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 for cars and vans has been taken into account in this proposal. The Commission will review in the coming months the CO2 standards for lorries and buses.
Revolutionizing Vehicle Standards
The Euro 7 regulation, integral to the type-approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles, is designed to make a transformative shift towards sustainable mobility while keeping vehicle costs manageable for both individuals and businesses. A notable aspect of the new regulation is the extension of the compliance period for vehicles, ensuring they meet environmental standards for a longer duration.
Exhaust Emission Limits: New Benchmarks Set
In a significant move, the negotiators have agreed to uphold the current Euro 6 test conditions and exhaust emissions limits for passenger cars and vans. However, at the insistence of the Parliament, a more stringent approach will be taken to measure exhaust particles, focusing on smaller particles at the level of PN10.
For heavier vehicles like buses and trucks, the agreement introduces more rigorous limits on exhaust emissions, both in laboratory settings and real driving conditions, while maintaining the current Euro VI testing standards.
Cutting Down Particle Emissions and Boosting Battery Life
The Euro 7 deal also addresses the issue of particle emissions from tyres and brakes, setting specific limits for different vehicle categories. Additionally, it lays down minimum performance requirements for battery durability in electric and hybrid vehicles, a significant move towards enhancing the longevity of these vehicles.
Empowering Consumers with Information
A unique aspect of the regulation is the introduction of an Environmental Vehicle Passport for each vehicle, offering detailed information on its environmental performance. Consumers will also have access to real-time data on fuel consumption, battery health, and pollutant emissions through advanced on-board systems.
Rapporteur Alexandr Vondra's Perspective
Alexandr Vondra, the Rapporteur (ECR, CZ), emphasized the balanced approach of the deal, aligning environmental objectives with the interests of manufacturers. He highlighted the focus on affordability for domestic customers and the preparation of the automotive industry for a comprehensive sectoral transformation, including addressing emissions from brakes, tyres, and battery durability.
Looking Ahead: Implementation Timeline
Before the regulation comes into effect, formal approval from both the Parliament and Council is required. The implementation timeline is set at 30 months post-enactment for cars and vans, and 48 months for buses, trucks, and trailers, with specific dates for vehicles constructed by small volume manufacturers.
The Path to Euro 7: A Background
The proposal for more stringent air pollutant emissions standards, including novel measures for non-exhaust emissions and battery durability, was initially put forward by the Commission on 10 November 2022. The current emission limits are based on the Euro 6 standards for cars and vans, and Euro VI for heavier vehicles. The Euro 7 proposal represents a groundbreaking approach to addressing the broader spectrum of vehicular emissions.
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