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Trade body says latest ‘Euro’ pollutant emission proposal from EU Commission risks slowing down transition to zero-emission transport

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (Acea) has said it has serious concerns about the European Commission’s proposal for new pollutant emission standards for cars and vans (Euro 7) and trucks and buses (Euro VII), which have just been published.

ACEA says that with the current Euro 6/VI rules, the EU has the most comprehensive and stringent standards for pollutant emissions (such as NOx and PM) in the world. Exhaust emissions are already at a barely measurable level thanks to state-of-the art vehicle technology, ACEA claims.

“The auto industry takes its role to reduce both CO2 and pollutant emissions very seriously. Indeed, last year we made a very constructive proposal for a new Euro 7 which would bring a major reduction in criteria pollutants, thus improving air quality,” said Oliver Zipse, ACEA President and CEO of BMW. “Unfortunately, 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.”

According to ACEA, the Euro VII proposal is particularly harsh for trucks. It completely neglects the rapidly accelerating shift to zero-emission vehicles, and also ignores the effect of future CO2 targets for heavy-duty vehicles.

“To comply with Euro VII, truck makers will have to move substantial engineering and financial resources from battery and fuel-cell electric vehicles back to the internal combustion engine. This will severely impact our transition to zero-emission vehicles. It is not good for the climate, not good for people’s health and not good for the industry,” said Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo Group and Chairperson of ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Board.

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“Policy makers should focus on measures that accelerate fleet renewal, prioritising investments in zero-emission vehicles, which will have a far bigger impact on both air quality and reduced CO2 emissions,” said Lundstedt.

The Euro 7/VII legislative package will likely not be ready before mid-end 2024, especially considering the long list of additional tests it covers. The proposed implementation dates – July 2025 for cars and vans and July 2027 for heavy-duty vehicles – are described by ACEA as unrealistic, given the huge number of vehicle models and variants that need to be developed, engineered, tested and type approved before then.

Euro 7/VII therefore risks being very complex and costly, ACEA warns.

ACEA also says the contribution of particles from non-exhaust sources, such as brake wear and tyre abrasion, will overtake exhaust particle emissions. Such emissions (from all vehicles, including electric) should be the focus of both Euro 7/VII and the tyre type-approval regulation, once robust new test procedures are ready.

Ford weighs in

Ford in Europe also issued a critical comment on the new EU Comission proposal, warning that companies will have to work harder on ICE tech to get to the tighter standard. Martin Sander, general manager Model e, Ford of Europe, said in a statement:

“The new proposed Euro 7 emission standard for cars and vans with combustion engines, published on Nov 10, 2022, has the potential to undermine the great progress Europe has made in shifting to electric mobility. We should not be diverting resources to yesterday’s technology and invest in zero-emission instead. Our goal at Ford is clear: zero-emission by 2030 for all passenger vehicles and for all Ford vehicles by 2035.”