EU Council adopts Euro 7 standards for vehicle emissions
Image courtesy of the European Union

EU Council adopts Euro 7 standards for vehicle emissions

In a significant move, the EU Council has established its stance on the proposed Euro 7 regulation, which focuses on the type-approval of motor vehicles and engines concerning their emissions and battery longevity. This regulation is unique as it encompasses cars, vans, and heavy-duty vehicles under one legal framework. The primary objective is to set stringent rules for vehicle emissions, aiming to further reduce air pollutants from road transport.

Europe has a global reputation for manufacturing top-tier, low-emission vehicles. The overarching goal remains to enhance air quality. The EU Council’s position is to spearhead future mobility by setting realistic emission levels for vehicles in the upcoming decade. This initiative also supports the industry’s transition to producing clean cars by 2035. The Spanish presidency has been receptive to the diverse needs of member states. This proposal is believed to have garnered widespread support, striking a balance in investment costs for manufacturers and amplifying the environmental benefits.

Héctor Gómez Hernández, the acting minister for industry, trade, and tourism, emphasised that the EU Council’s position harmonises the rigorous requirements for vehicle emissions with the necessary industry investments. This comes at a pivotal time when European car manufacturers are transitioning to produce zero-emission vehicles.

For light-duty vehicles, the current emission limits and testing conditions remain unchanged. However, for heavy-duty vehicles, there’s a reduction in emission limits with minor adjustments to test conditions. Notably, Euro 7 introduces a provision for urban buses, aligning with the proposed 2030 zero-emissions target.

Euro 7 also addresses non-exhaust emissions, including particles from brakes and tires. It sets minimum performance standards for electric car batteries and enforces stricter vehicle lifespan requirements. The regulation also promotes the adoption of advanced emission-monitoring tools and technologies.

The EU Council has proposed several pragmatic modifications to the EU Commission’s proposal, ensuring environmental and health objectives are met. This includes maintaining existing test conditions and emission limits for private cars and vans. For buses, coaches, and heavy commercial vehicles, emission limits have been reduced, with test conditions slightly modified.

The EU Council’s decision on September 25, 2023, solidifies its negotiation position. Negotiations with the European Parliament will commence once the Parliament finalises its stance.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) acknowledged the Council’s stance on the Euro 7 regulation as a move in the right direction. However, the industry body has expressed concerns over the persistent high costs associated with the proposed standards.

However, ACEA President Oliver Zipse said that while the Council’s position is more balanced than the initial proposal, the industry is still facing immense cost pressures. He emphasised the need for a realistic approach that considers the economic implications for manufacturers, especially during these challenging times.

In October 2022, the EU Council and the European Parliament agreed on stricter CO2 emission standards for new cars and vans, setting a 100% CO2 emission reduction target by 2035. As the industry gears up for this shift, combustion cars and vans will be available until 2035. However, other combustion vehicles, including trucks and buses, will continue production post-2035.