Emission Standard Euro 7

    Hildegard Müller: "Technically and in terms of time hardly achievable"

    The automotive industry is resolutely behind the goal of constantly improving air quality in cities to protect health. The Euro standards are a fundamentally effective instrument in this regard. Significant improvements in air quality have already been achieved in recent years through continuous development.

    The automotive industry is resolutely behind the goal of constantly improving air quality in cities to protect health. The Euro standards are a fundamentally effective instrument in this regard. Significant improvements in air quality have already been achieved in recent years through continuous development.

    Unfortunately, the new Euro 7 emission standard now proposed by the EU Commission sets exaggerated goals - the technical and timely implementation of the current draft can hardly be achieved. The VDA has therefore developed alternative proposals. These significantly improve air quality and at the same time enable a balanced cost-benefit ratio in the interests of consumers and industry.

    Background: After the EU Commission published its draft for new emission standards for cars, vans and heavy commercial vehicles (Euro 7) in November 2022, the consultation on the proposed legal text ended on Thursday (February 9th, 2023). According to the Commission, the regulation should apply to newly registered passenger cars and small vans from July 1, 2025 and to newly registered heavy commercial vehicles from July 1, 2027.

    Regrettably, the results collected during the consultation process no longer influence the Commission's position, but the feedback is presented to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU in order to be able to feed into the legislative debate.

    In a next step, the Council and Parliament must discuss the text independently of one another and develop positions on it. The three institutions involved in the legislative process will then meet for the so-called trilogue negotiations in order to work out a compromise. A final decision is not expected before November 2023.

    The aim of the new Euro 7 standard, to improve the air quality in cities a step beyond, is a project that the German automotive industry is resolutely supporting. "In this context, the automotive industry is committed to effective legislation that can be implemented quickly," says VDA President Hildegard Müller.

    It is crucial that further development of the emissions standard is based on a sense of proportion and feasibility while at the same time achieving a high level of efficiency.
    Hildegard MüllerVDA President

    Müller warns that the current proposal lacks a sense of proportion: "Should the current version of the Euro 7 emission standard take effect in this way, production losses and supply bottlenecks could result, since not enough vehicles with the requirements can be developed and approved in the short time."

    For the first time, Euro 7 bundles the emission limits for all motor vehicles such as cars, buses and trucks in one emissions standard - and thus replaces the previously separate regulations for cars and light commercial vehicles (Euro 6) as well as trucks and buses (Euro VI).

    However, the fact is: The proposal sets unrealistic timelines for car manufacturers. The manufacturers do not have enough time for the new development of the engine and exhaust systems including the type approval for all vehicles by the planned application date in July 2025.

    For heavy-duty commercial vehicles, the Euro 7 draft also sets goals which are technologically hard to achieve: It is planned to lower the limits by a factor of more than 10 in some cases - while at the same time significantly expanding the test conditions and durability. Added to this is the introduction of new limits for nitrous oxide, ammonia and brake dust. In doing so, the commission goes well beyond comparable international emissions legislation such as that in the USA or China - with the effect that Europe is falling behind as a development and production location.

    The VDA has therefore developed corresponding policy documents with alternative proposals – one for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and one for heavy commercial vehicles and buses. The central points are designed in such a way that the investments for Euro 7 aim to significantly reduce pollutant emissions and have a good cost-benefit ratio - for air quality, industry and consumers.

    • Feasibility, transparency and a sense of proportion with regard to the costs and benefits of regulation are important. The focus must be on the specific air improvement and enable feasibility instead of setting up exaggerated demands.
    • The VDA is committed to securing drive development and production in Europe through an international harmonization of emissions legislation. If Europe goes it alone, there is a risk that development and production will migrate to other regions of the world, thus also a risk of job and prosperity losses.
    • The high investments required for the current Euro 7 standard proposal lead to significantly higher prices - and ultimately to cautious buying behavior. This in turn means slower renewal of fleets. In plain language: Older vehicles with higher pollutant emissions will stay in operation longer.
    • The VDA demands representative test constraints. The fact is: With the currently planned tightening of the constraints and without the exclusion of misuse, test maneuvers are permitted that occur extremely rarely in everyday life, but have strong repercussions on the exhaust  aftertreatment technology installed. The VDA therefore advocates improving the effectiveness of exhaust aftertreatment without focusing on extreme situations. In normal operation, for example, pollutants could be reduced significantly more than the current Euro 7 draft stipulates.
    • We are also in favor of staggering the launch dates in order to ensure continuous production, with the corresponding safeguards for employment and the availability of a wide range of vehicles for consumers. This guarantees that the manufacturers focus their spending on the important, sustainable transformation projects towards the electrification of drives and climate-neutral mobility. This way necessary state approval procedures can also be executed.

    We should keep in mind that the transformation of the German automotive industry is a task of the century and demands immense efforts from companies and their employees. It is therefore important that companies can now use their investments for their central and sustainable transformation projects.

    "Excessive regulation of emissions standards would now force companies to invest billions in the appropriate engine and exhaust aftertreatment technology without achieving an adequate effect on emissions. As a result, companies lack the funds for the urgently needed investments in order to implement the important transformations for the further ramp-up of e-mobility and the development of alternative drives," emphasizes Müller.

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    Simon Schütz

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