Following the positions taken in the Council and the Parliament regarding the EU Commission‘s draft regulations for light and heavy vehicles, it was ultimately possible to complete the negotiated “trilogue” procedure with acceptance by the EU Parliament on 2 April 2014. This concluded the European legislative process.
The EU Commission will now submit the EU decision to the UN/ECE. It can be expected that the European limit values will be reflected in a revised version of UN/ECE Regulation 51 from March 2015 onwards. This in turn will enable the EU to refer to the revised UN/ECE legislation in its own legislation, as a result of which nothing else stands in the way of the first new limit value stage coming into force in mid-2016.
The core of the noise legislation process concerns changing to a new type testing procedure. The measuring method applicable to date basically corresponded to full-load acceleration at 50 km/h. Although this is very demanding for the automotive industry, it does not represent a typical operating condition in sensitive urban areas. More moderate accelerations are typical for urban driving. In order to achieve a better correlation between reducing the limit value and the situation with regard to received noise, a new and more representative measuring process was developed and approved under the auspices of the UN/ECE in close cooperation with the ISO (International Standardization Organization). The German automotive industry actively supported this development, and welcomes the change to this new process.
Furthermore, a fundamental revision of the regulation was carried out with regard to the underlying vehicle categories. Thus, different limit values used to be defined for various vehicle categories, because a truck cannot be compared to a passenger car, for example. Even within a vehicle category, the vehicle concepts can range from a medium-duty delivery truck through to a long-distance truck, for example. These concepts are so varied that sensibly segregated subcategories of the vehicle categories have also been defined and passed.
|Veh. cat.||Vehicles used for the carriage of
|Phase 1||Phase 2||Phase 3|
|M1||PMR </= 120 kW/t||72||70||68|
|120 kW/t < PMR </= 160 kW/t||73||71||69|
|PMR > 160 kW/t||75||73||71|
|PMR > 200 kW/t, no. of seats </= 4,
R-point height < 450 mm from the ground
|M2||GVW </= 2.5 t||72||70||69|
|2.5 t </= GVW <3.5 t 74 72||74||72||71|
|GVW > 3.5 t; P </= 135 kW||75||73||72|
|GVW > 3.5 t; P > 135 kW||75||74||72|
|M3||P </= 150 kW||76||74||73|
|150 kW </= P < 250 kW||78||77||76|
|P > 250 kW||80||78||77|
|Veh. cat.||Vehicles used for the carriage of goods||Phase 1||Phase 2||Phase 3|
|N1||GVW </= 2.5 t||72||71||69|
|GVW > 2.5 t||74||73||71|
|N2||P </= 135 kW||77||75||74|
|P > 135 kW||78||76||75|
|N3||P </= 150 kW||79||77||76|
|150 kW </= P < 250 kW||81||79||77|
|P > 250 kW||82||81||79|
The VDA welcomes this revision of the vehicle categories, because some of the former vehicle categories were more than 25 years old, and no longer corresponded to the current market and today‘s state of the art. Three new limit value levels were defined for each individual vehicle category. The first stage (phase 1) aims to allow for rapid introduction and represents the factor of an equivalence limit value for the previous noise regulation. This phase should come into force in June 2016. A second limit value stage will then lead to a significant tightening-up of the legislation by 2 dB in most cases. Phase 2 is intended to come into force between four and six years after introduction of the first phase. The third stage is to be regarded as indicative. An impact assessment is to be carried out at the latest one year following introduction of the second stage, and will be used for revising or confirming the phase 3 limit values. Phase 3 should come into force between four and six years after stage 2. Despite all the discussion about primary vehicle noise, however, it should still be mentioned that measures must also be taken outside the vehicle for effective noise reduction.
These include, for example:
- Intelligent traffic control and balancing traffic levels
- Low noise modern road surfaces to reduce the noise of tires on the road
- Target values must be set here as a matter of urgency
- Passive measures such as noise abatement walls and sound-insulated windows
- “Quiet” rails for railways and trams
- Support for electric mobility
- Monitoring vehicles to ensure they are in good condition
- Controls on illegal exhaust systems
It will only be possible to make significant reductions in noise levels at high density traffic locations if all these noise reduction measures are used in combination.