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Emission Standards

EU: Heavy-Duty Vehicles: GHG Emissions


The first carbon dioxide emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDV) in the European Union were set by Regulation (EU) 2019/1242 in June 2019 [4416]. The regulation requires that the average CO2 emissions from selected HDV categories be reduced by 15% in 2025 and by 30% in 2030, relative to a 2019/2020 baseline. The baseline value will be determined based on the certified CO2 emissions of new trucks collected under a separate regulation on CO2 monitoring and reporting [4593].

Applicability. The regulation sets CO2 emissions targets for delivery vehicles belonging to groups 4, 5, 9, and 10 as defined in the CO2 certification regulation [4594], Table 1. The regulated vehicle groups correspond to rigid and tractor trucks with a 4×2 axle configuration and a GVW above 16 tonnes, and all 6×2 vehicles—these are common configurations of European heavy trucks. The vehicles are further divided into sub-groups, depending on their use profiles, Table 2.

Table 1
HDV classification for the purpose of CO2 emissions certification
Axle TypeaChassisGVW, tonnesVehicle
Date of Certification RequirementCO2
4×2Rigid>3.5 - <7.50No certification requirementsNo
Rigid/Tractor7.5 - 101January 1, 2020 for all new registrationsNo
Rigid/Tractor>10 - 122
Rigid/Tractor>12 - 163
Rigid>164January 1, 2019 for new produced vehicles
July 1, 2019 for all new registrations
4×4Rigid7.5 - 166No certification requirementsNo
6×2Rigidall weights9January 1, 2019 for new produced vehicles
July 1, 2019 for all new registrations
Tractorall weights10
6×4Rigidall weights11July 1, 2020 for new registrationsNo
Tractorall weights12
6×6Rigidall weights13No certification requirementsNo
Tractorall weights14
8×2Rigidall weights15
8×4Rigidall weights16July 1, 2020 for new registrationsNo
8×6/8Rigidall weights17No certification requirementsNo
a Axle Type = [number of wheels] × [number of drive wheels]
Table 2
Vehicle sub-groups for the purpose of CO2 standards
Group DescriptionVehicle
Cabin TypeEngine PowerMPWb
Rigid, 4×2 axle
GVW > 16 t
44-UDAll< 170 kW0.099
4-RDDay cab≥ 170 kW0.154
Sleeper cab≥ 170 kW and < 265 kW
4-LHSleeper cab≥ 265 kW0.453
Tractor, 4×2 axle
GVW > 16 t
55-RDDay cabAll0.498
Sleeper cab< 265 kW
5-LHSleeper cab≥ 265 kW1.000
Rigid, 6×2 axle99-RDDay cabAll0.286
9-LHSleeper cab0.901
Tractor, 6×2 axle1010-RDDay cabAll0.434
10-LHSleeper cab0.922
a UD: Urban delivery, RD: Regional delivery, LH: Long-haul
b MPW: Mileage and payload weighting factor

Review Clause. By the end of 2022, the European Commission must submit a report on the effectiveness of the CO2 standards and assess the appropriateness of the 2030 CO2 reduction target, the possibility of introducing binding 2035 and 2040 emission targets, setting emission standards for other vehicle types, as well as the development of a methodology for the assessment of the full life-cycle CO2 emissions of HDVs and a number of other aspects of the regulation.

Emission Standards

Emission Reduction Targets

The CO2 standards follow a tank-to-wheel approach, addressing only the tailpipe CO2 emissions of the regulated vehicle groups [4595]. For each manufacturer, the CO2 emissions are regulated on a fleet-wide basis through a metric called average specific CO2 emissions, expressed in grams of CO2 per tonne-kilometer (g/t-km) and computed using a simulation tool. The standards are limited to CO2 emissions—other GHG gases such as CH4 or N2O are not regulated (however, CH4 emissions from gas engines have been regulated since the Euro III stage).

The calculation starts with CO2 emissions for all vehicles in each sub-group, which are weighted for different cycles and payloads. Then, emissions are averaged over all sub-groups using a mileage and payload weighting factor (MPW), Table 2, that reflects the difference in freight activity between the vehicle sub-groups. Finally, the emissions are multiplied by a zero- and low emissions (ZLEV) factor.

The regulation mandates relative fleet-averaged CO2 emission reductions against a fixed set of baseline emission values for each vehicle sub-group that is common to all manufacturers. The baseline emissions are based on data resulting from the monitoring and reporting regulation from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

For a given year, the reporting period includes vehicles registered from 1 July of the given year to 30 June of the next year. The implementation of the regulation is divided into two terms with different stringencies:

  • From 2025 to 2029: A relative reduction of 15% from the baseline.
  • From 2030 onwards: A relative reduction of 30% from the baseline.

Achieving these targets would require that a sizable proportion of each manufacturer’s fleet be zero tailpipe CO2 emission vehicles, such as electric or hydrogen fueled trucks.

Incentives for Zero- and Low Emission Vehicles

Zero emission vehicles (ZEV) are vehicles certified to zero tailpipe CO2 emissions. A truck is designated as a low emission vehicle (LEV) if its CO2 emissions are less than 50% of the baseline CO2 emissions of the respective sub-group. The regulation includes two types of incentives to accelerate the development and deployment of ZEV and LEV vehicles [4595]:

  • “Super-credits” are available over the period of 2019-2024
  • “Benchmark” incentive system is effective from 2025 onwards

In each case, the incentive is applied as a ZLEV factor that reduces the manufacturer’s emissions. The ZLEV factor is capped at a minimum of 0.97, meaning that the ZLEV incentives can only reduce the average emissions of a manufacturer by a maximum of 3%. The final incentives for ZLEVs are limited to vehicles category N (i.e., buses are excluded). In the regulated vehicle groups (Table 1), both ZEVs and LEVs count towards the incentives. In the unregulated truck categories, only ZEVs are part of the incentive’s scope.

Super-Credits. Under the super-credit scheme, ZLEVs are counted as more than one vehicle in the calculation of the average CO2 emissions of a manufacturer. ZEVs are double counted in the averaging set, while LEVs are counted as up to 2 vehicles, depending on their CO2 emissions—their super-credit multiplier increases linearly from 1 to 2 as their CO2 emissions decrease from 50% below the baseline to zero (e.g., a LEV with emissions 75% below the baseline counts as 1.5 vehicle).

The calculation of the super-credit ZLEV factor depends on the share of ZLEVs in a manufacturer’s fleet and on the applicable super-credit multiplier for each ZLEV. For a given manufacturer, the ZLEV factor is defined as:

ZLEV factor = V / (Vconv + ZLEVin + ZEVout)(1)

where V is the total number of regulated HDVs, Vconv is the total number of regulated HDVs with conventional powertrains, ZLEVin is the resulting number of ZLEV vehicles within the regulated groups after accounting for super-credits, and ZEVout is the resulting number of ZEV vehicles outside of the regulated groups multiplied by 2.

Benchmark System. From 2025, manufacturers are rewarded for the sale of ZLEVs only after they meet a sales benchmark of 2%. If the benchmark is not achieved, there are no negative consequences.

LEVs are counted between 0 and 1, depending on their CO2 emissions—for instance, an LEV with CO2 emissions 75% below the sub-group’s baseline would count as 0.5 in the ZLEV sales share calculation. The benchmark ZLEV factor is defined as:

ZLEV factor = 1 – (ZLEVsales share – 0.02)(2)

As the ZLEV factor is capped at a minimum of 0.97, the maximum allowable benefit is reached when a manufacturer’s ZLEV share reaches 5%. A minimum ZLEV sales share of 0.75% is required from the regulated vehicle groups to benefit from the incentives. Otherwise, the ZLEV factor is set to 1, regardless of the number of ZEVs sold outside of the regulated groups.

Flexibilities & Other Provisions

The regulation contains certain flexibilities and a number of other provisions, including:

  • Banking and Borrowing Scheme—Manufacturers are allowed to accumulate CO2 emission credits and debts during specific periods of time. At any given time, the total debt of a manufacturer cannot be higher than 5% of its 2025 target multiplied by the respective number of vehicles. All debt must be cleared by 2029—the accumulated credits or debt cannot be carried over to 2030. Credits and debts are not transferable between manufacturers.
  • Penalties—Manufacturers are required to pay a per-vehicle penalty of €4,250 for each gCO2/t-km of excess emissions in the period 2025-2029, and of €6,800 per gCO2/t-km from 2030 onwards.
  • Real-World CO2 Emissions and Energy Consumption—The HDV CO2 standards contain amendments to the HDV type approval regulation that mandate the introduction of on-board fuel consumption and payload meters.
  • In-service Verification of CO2 Emissions—Type-approval authorities are responsible for verifying that the certified CO2 emission values correspond to those measured during in-service verification tests. The on-road verification test (introduced in 2019 as an amendment to the CO2 certification regulation [4596]) measures the wheel torque, engine speed and fuel consumption of the HDV. To pass the test, the measured CO2 emissions must not exceed the certified values by more than 7.5%.