The dawn of a new age in European vehicle emission standards is upon us. The Euro 7 regulation, a critical yet controversial development aimed at drastically reducing road transport emissions, is ushering in a new era. The law targets passenger cars, vans, buses, and heavy-duty vehicles, seeking to implement stringent measures that will significantly minimise their impact on the environment. However, as with any groundbreaking initiative, the Euro 7 proposal has sparked widespread debate and contention.
Euro 7: A Brief Overview
The Euro 7 is the EU’s latest proposal for regulating vehicle emissions. The new regulation is aimed at reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and ammonia, among other pollutants. This represents a significant upgrade from the current limits set by the Euro 6 standard for cars and vans and the Euro VI standard for buses, trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles.
The Euro 7 also introduces measures to curb non-exhaust emissions including those from tyres and brakes. Additionally, it sets requirements for battery durability, particularly for electric vehicles. The regulation has been segmented into different categories based on vehicle weight, with stricter limits on exhaust emissions for buses and heavy-duty vehicles.
The Euro 7 Vote and its Implications
The Euro 7 proposal was adopted by the European Parliament on 9 November, with 329 votes in favour, 230 against, and 41 abstentions. Following the vote, the Parliament is now set to begin discussions with EU governments to finalise the law.
Alexandr Vondra, the Rapporteur for the proposal, said, “This negotiation represents a balance between environmental goals and the vital interests of manufacturers. We aim to avoid extreme positions and serve the interests of all parties involved.”
The Parliament expressed its desire to align the EU’s calculation methodologies and limits for brake particle emissions and tyre abrasion rates with international standards currently being developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
“Worse than useless” – Green Groups Despair
Despite the EU Parliament’s approval, the Euro 7 proposal has faced criticism from various quarters. Environmental group, Transport & Environment (T&E), has argued that the new standard does not significantly improve air pollution protections beyond its predecessor, the Euro 6.
In particular, T&E criticizes the weakening of limits for trucks and vans in terms of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. They claim that the proposed Euro 7 law would allow higher NOx limits for trucks and a 30% weaker limit for vans compared to Euro 6. Additionally, the testing conditions for cars, trucks, and vans would be relaxed, reverting back to Euro 6 requirements.
“The Euro 7 passed today is worse than useless. Car companies will use it to greenwash cars that are hardly any cleaner than today. The last pollution standard that engines will have to meet is a dead letter. Lawmakers should have the decency to rename it Euro 6F or withdraw it.” – Anna Krajinska, Vehicle Emissions and Air Quality Manager at T&E
The Automobile Industry’s Take on Euro 7
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has expressed concerns over the Euro 7 proposal. They argue that the new standards will necessitate significant investments by vehicle manufacturers at a critical time in the industry’s transformation.
Sigrid de Vries, ACEA Director General, stated, “Euro 7 represents a significant investment for vehicle manufacturers, on top of their huge decarbonisation efforts. Europe needs a proportionate Euro 7 that balances environmental concerns and industrial competitiveness.”
The ACEA also believes that while it is necessary to address brake and tyre emissions, the technical feasibility of these new targets needs to be ensured. They have called for a more realistic approach during the trilogue negotiations to finalise the law.
The Future of Euro 7
The final form of the Euro 7 law will be determined through trilogue negotiations between the EU Parliament, the EU Council, and the Commission. The outcome of these negotiations will have a significant impact on the automobile industry as well as on the EU’s environmental goals.
Despite the controversy, the Euro 7 represents a crucial step towards reducing vehicle emissions and promoting cleaner transportation in the EU. The challenge for lawmakers will be to strike a balance that satisfies both environmental and industrial interests. As the negotiations continue, all eyes will be on the future of the Euro 7 and its potential effects on the automobile sector and the environment.