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European Commission proposes Euro 7/VII emission standards

11 November 2022

The European Commission released the long-expected Euro 7/VII proposal for new emission standards for on-road vehicles. The Euro 7 rules will apply to both light-duty (cars and vans) and heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses) sold in the EU. The proposal merges the successor regulations to Euro 6 (Regulation (EC) 715/2007) and Euro VI (Regulation (EC) 595/2009) into one single act.

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The proposed date for the entry into force of the Euro 7 regulation is 1 July 2025 for new light-duty vehicles, and 1 July 2027 for new heavy-duty vehicles.

The proposed Euro 7 rules are described as technology- and fuel-neutral. The same emission limits apply to all vehicles within the same category, regardless of the technology—for example, conventional internal combustion engine, hybrid or plug-in—or the fuel used (gasoline, diesel or others). They also apply to zero CO2 emission vehicles (electric or fuel cell vehicles).

The Euro 7 proposal includes a number of changes, including updated limits for pollutant emissions, broadened boundary conditions for RDE testing, extended emission durability periods, as well as first-ever limits for particulate emissions from brakes and rules on microplastic emissions from tires.

For light-duty vehicles, the proposed emission limits are tightened to only a limited degree. The strictest of the existing Euro 6 limits were taken as a starting point and applied across all technologies. For example, NOx used to have a limit of 60 mg/km for gasoline cars, and 80 mg/km for diesel. Under the Euro 7 standards, that limit will be 60 mg/km, regardless of the technology.

For heavy-duty vehicles, the proposal introduces two sets of limits, one for hot and one for cold emissions, reflecting a focus on the reduction of cold-start emissions. The limits are set lower than they were in the previous Euro VI heavy-duty standards. For instance, the Euro 7 NOx limits are 350 mg/kWh and 90 mg/kWh, cold and hot, respectively, compared to the Euro VI limit of 400 mg/kWh.

Currently, the following pollutants are regulated under Euro 6/Euro VI: nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particles (PM & PN), hydrocarbons, methane, and ammonia for trucks and buses. In addition to these pollutants, the proposal introduces limits for formaldehyde and nitrous oxide for trucks and buses, and limits for ammonia for cars and vans. The proposal also lowers the cut point for PN measurement from the current 23 nm to 10 nm (PN10) and regulates particles from brakes and battery durability.

An important part of the Euro 7 proposal are changes to the testing procedures that make it more challenging to meet emission standards. The boundary conditions for RDE testing have been broadened to ensure that emissions stay low in a broader range of conditions. For instance, the maximum ambient temperature is increased from 35°C to 45°C, the maximum altitude is increased from 1,600 m to 1,800 m, and short trips are allowed. For heavy-duty vehicles, there is also a greater focus on whole vehicle testing (ISC PEMS) instead of engine testing.

The Euro 7 regulation would significantly increase the emission durability requirements. Currently, Euro 6 cars have to comply with the emission requirements up to 100,000 km or 5 years. With the new rules, the Euro 7 emission limits would have to be met up to 200,000 km or 10 years.

Both light- and heavy- duty Euro 7 vehicles will need to be equipped with on-board emissions monitoring systems (OBM) to flag emission problems early. The OBM system must be capable of detecting the occurrence of emission exceedances and of communicating that information via the OBD port and over the air.

Automakers have been critical of the Euro 7 proposal. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said that the “environmental benefit of the Commission’s proposal is very limited, whereas it heavily increases the cost of vehicles. It focuses on extreme driving conditions that have hardly any real-life relevance.”

VDA, the German automotive industry association, said it would be “hardly possible” to implement Euro 7 by 2025 for light vehicles and by 2027 for heavy trucks. “The development and approval of an appropriate drive with a lead time of only one year after the expected completion of the delegated acts is simply not feasible,” VDA said.

The adoption of the Euro 7 regulation requires an approval by the European Parliament and the member states.

Source: EU Commission