European emissions standards evolution
We summarized with an infographic the evolution of the EU regulations on pollutant emissions released by motor vehicles, to clarify what has been done and what is going to happen. Just these days the European Commission is meeting in Brussels for a consultation on the new EURO 7 standard, an initiative that is part of the Green Deal, the community strategy to make Europe’s economy sustainable.
The first standard
European standards on polluting emissions have been introduced since 1992 on approvals, and since 1993 on registrations.
Before these dates, emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) were not regulated at all and air pollution from road traffic was out of control.
From the first Euro-standard onwards, however, there has been a continuous succession of new regulations, more and more specific and cumbersome, which have made it difficult and expensive for manufacturers to adapt and have created confusion and inconvenience among drivers. In addition to this, the European Commission has identified 2 other major obstacles that prevent the Euro 6 / IV from bringing about an effective reduction in emissions:
- first of all, the fact that the limit values adopted so far are obsolete and do not take into account all the polluting substances that endanger the health of the environment and man;
- secondly, emissions are not currently measured in all driving conditions and are not monitored for the entire life cycle of vehicles.
What comes next to Euro 6?
The European Commission therefore proposes to develop a new (and hopefully last) emissions standard that will solve some of these problems and that will specifically aim to:
- simplify the legislation in order to make the adjustment by manufacturers and consumers easier, faster and less expensive. One of the strong points of the proposal is the application of the standard to all categories of vehicles without distinguishing between cars / vans and trucks / buses
- tighten current restrictions and broaden the range of measured pollutants in order to include other contaminants that are not currently regulated, for example, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, and many others;
- integrate control and data collection measures throughout the life cycle of vehicles and not only during the homologation phase;
The plan is complex and should come to a concretization by the end of 2021. Euro 7 will accelerate the transition towards sustainable mobility and will bring Europe closer to achieving the climate neutrality target by 2050.