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European Council adopts position on Euro 7 emission regulation

25 September 2023

The European Council (COMPET) adopted its position (‘general approach’) on the proposed Euro 7 regulation for the type-approval of motor vehicles and engines. The new regulation, proposed by the EU Commission in November 2022, aims to set more adequate rules for vehicle emissions and to further lower air pollutant emissions from road transport.

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The agreed general approach formalizes the Council’s position for negotiations with the European Parliament, which will start as soon as the Parliament adopts its position.

The Council’s position weakens the Euro 7 proposal in several respects and delays the implementation of Euro 7 emission standards. The changes reflect concerns by several member states about significant development capacity and investment required on top of that already being put into electrification and overall benefits to be gained from the proposed approach.

Light-Duty Vehicles. For vehicles including passenger cars and vans (category M1 and N1), the Council position keeps existing test conditions and emissions limits. For test conditions, the Council position reverts to the WLTP and RDE tests as defined in Euro 6e. For emissions limits, the position text goes back to Euro 6 (proposed limits for refueling emissions are deleted).

Heavy-Duty Vehicles. For heavy-duty M2 and M3 vehicles (buses and coaches), and N2 and N3 vehicles (heavy commercial vehicles), emission limits are lower and test conditions are adjusted in comparison with Euro VI. Importantly, the Council position reverts to the single set of laboratory (WHSC/WHTC) emission limits—discarding the proposed separate limits for cold and hot emissions.

The emission limits are strengthened to some degree. For instance, the NOx limit is 230 mg/kWh, equivalent to a 50% emission reduction from the current Euro VI standards. Among other changes, the Council position reverts to the PN23 particle number measurement (23 nm particle diameter cut-off, compared to the proposed 10 nm methodology) and removes the emission limit for formaldehyde (HCHO).

Brake and Tire Wear Particles. The Council text strengthens the alignment of brake particle emission limits and tire abrasion rate limits with international standards adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Testing will be conducted according to the UN testing methodologies, yet to be developed, on brake and tire abrasion emissions.

Implementation Dates. In their discussion, many delegations considered the deadlines of 1 July 2025 for light-duty vehicles and 1 July 2027 for heavy-duty vehicles, as proposed by the Commission, “too ambitious and even unrealistic”. The Council text suggests new application dates:

The Council text also clarifies that Commission implementing acts for light-duty vehicles are to be adopted by 12 months after entry into force of the regulation, and implementing acts for heavy-duty vehicles are to be adopted by 30 months after entry into force of the regulation.

Source: European Council