tailpipe vehicle emissions

EU tightens rules to limit vehicle emissions including from brakes and tyres

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The EU has proposed revising the rules for new motor vehicles to cut the amount of air pollution they produce under the European Green Deal’s zero-pollution ambition.

Road transport is currently the largest source of air pollution in cities, but the new Euro 7 standards, coupled with CO2 emission standards, would “give the automotive supply chain a clear direction for reducing pollutant emissions, including using digital technologies”, the European Commission said.

In 2035, all cars and vans sold in the EU will have zero CO2-emissions under proposals confirmed last month.

But even in 2050, more than 20 per cent of cars and vans – and more than half of the heavier vehicles – driving on EU roads are expected to continue to emit pollutants from the tailpipe.

The new proposal tackles emissions from tailpipes as well as from brakes and tyres, the latter two of which will continue to be relevant even for battery electric vehicles.

It replaces previously separate emission rules for cars and vans (Euro 6) and lorries and buses (Euro VI) and will bring the standard for all motor vehicles under a single set of rules.

They are fuel- and technology-neutral, placing the same limits regardless of whether the vehicle uses petrol, diesel, electric drive-trains or alternative fuels.

They will broaden the range of driving conditions that are covered by the on-road emissions tests to better reflect the range of conditions that vehicles can experience across Europe, including temperatures of up to 45°C or short trips typical of daily commutes.

The rules will also tighten the limits for pollutant emissions for lorries and buses, while the lowest existing limits for cars and vans will now apply regardless of the fuel used by the vehicle. This includes emission limits for previously unregulated pollutants, such as nitrous oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

The EU said the new standards will be the first to move beyond regulating exhaust pipe emissions and set additional limits for particulate emissions from brakes and rules on microplastic emissions from tyres.

All vehicles will need to comply with the rules for a longer period and compliance for cars and vans will be checked until these vehicles reach 200,000km and 10 years of age.

This doubles the durability requirements existing under Euro 6/VI rules (100,000km and 5 years of age). Similar increases will take place for buses and lorries.

Road transport is the largest source of air pollution in cities. In 2018, more than 39 per cent of nitrogen oxide and 10 per cent of primary PM2.5 and PM10 emissions in the EU came from road transport.

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