New Euro 7 emissions regulations threaten a premature end of petrol and diesel engines

What’s more, vehicles will have to maintain these emissions for a decade and up to 125,000 miles, which is twice the current requirement enshrined in Euro 6/VI regulations.

There are also proposed regulations regarding emissions of ammonia, evaporated hydrocarbon emissions caused by refueling, cold-start emissions which might entail electric catalysts, the tallying up the amount of electrical recharging in plug-in hybrids and also for a minimum life of batteries in electric vehicles which, it is claimed, would reduce the requirement to replace the main drive batteries of EVs.

A much-discussed new emissions requirement is for microparticles coming off brakes and tires. This also applies to electric vehicles which, while often easier than a petrol/diesel car on the wearing parts of brakes, are often harder on tires as a result of their extra weight.

It is claimed that these proposals will, by 2035, lower total NOx emissions from cars and vans by 35 percent compared with Euro 6, and 35 percent for trucks and buses compared with Euro VI. Tailpipe particulates from cars will be reduced by 13 percent and by 39 percent from trucks and buses, while car brake particulates will be reduced by 27 percent.

These requirements are designed to go hand in hand with already legislated reductions in CO2 emissions and those will be reviewed in the coming months. There’s also a rumor that by 2025 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) will also be subjected to more realistic fuel consumption tests than the present ones.

Stings in the tail: early arrival

As well as being dramatic, the sting in the tail with these regulations is the early adoption date of July 1 2025 for all new cars and vans (not just all new model ranges), and by the same date two years later for new heavy- duty vehicles. Limited exceptions will apply to small volume manufacturers.

The other sting is that the regulations can be changed right up to 2024, by which time there will be virtually no time for car makers to design, engineer and certify any changes. We could be witnessing the sort of rush-to-test that accompanied the replacement of the old NEDC emissions and fuel consumption standards with WLTP and “real world” RDE standards. Car makers, which faced a huge requirement to retest all their vehicles in every single possible configuration, had to admit defeat. The result has been much streamlined vehicle ranges and less choice.

“Not all of it is clear yet,” says Ford’s Dr. Schmidt, who says that a distinct possibility is that the current sensor technology won’t be accurate and durable enough to achieve the target requirements.

European-specific cars

There’s the usual self-congratulatory guff from the European Union, with claims it is pleased to be a “standard setter globally,” which basically means these proposals go further than those in pretty much any other main market. The EU justifies the proposals not just with the claim that they will improve European air quality, but that there will be concomitant improvements in countries outside the EU when and if these Euro 7-compliant cars are sold there.

Yet as one car maker pointed out, this is highly debatable. For a start, fuel standards in the developing world aren’t as high as those in Europe and using low-quality fuels will quickly damage a Euro 7-compliant engine. And the real time, over-the-air reporting of emissions required by Euro 7 will be difficult to implement in less developed countries where the internet and bureaucracy aren’t as advanced.

“Euro 7 proposals will result in very specific cars for Europe which you won’t be able to use across the globe,” said one engineer, citing the example of a car which hasn’t got the right fuel or isn’t able to update itself and which simply shuts itself down and refuses to start.

Was the EU listening?

Every car maker has been surprised at how little discussion with the EU there has been about the Euro 7 proposals, which is very different from previous negotiations on environmental standards. “We went into the meeting and made some points and they said thank you and walked out,” said one “There was no discussion.”

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