This would have consequences for the mobility of millions of people and thousands of jobs: From 2025, the EU wants to practically prevent the registration of petrol - and diesel vehicles - with an extreme emission standard: Euro 7.
Tomorrow's car will be quiet and emit no carbon dioxide - whether it is loaded with a roof rack full of bicycles or pulling a trailer. Until recently, even die-hard supporters of the European Commission's Green Deal would have estimated this vision to be in 2035 or 2040. Since the weekend, a much earlier starting date has been circulating in Brussels: 2025.
Anyone who wants to buy a petrol or diesel engine should do so within the next five years at the latest. Because after that it could become impossible.
The EU Commission wants to propose the new limit values for cars and vans at the end of 2021. They are to come into force in 2025, according to the Brussels authorities on Monday. But no decision has yet been taken on the framework, scope, limit values or deadlines.
The sticking point of the planned Euro 7 rules are above all the so-called boundary conditions of real-life measurements (RDE) of exhaust gases in road traffic, which have been part of the approval since the currently valid Euro 6 d exhaust standard.
This is because all exhaust gas aftertreatment systems, such as modern SCR catalytic converters in diesel vehicles, require a certain operating temperature in order to achieve an optimum cleaning effect. The first kilometres after starting the engine, more exhaust gases are therefore produced, but these are almost completely reduced after a short time. This is why Euro 6d vehicles achieve extremely low pollutant emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) even when measuring exhaust gases, whether on the test bench or during control measurements in traffic.
Contrary to the real everyday use of most passenger cars, the Euro 7 exhaust emission standard is not only intended to reflect all extreme situations, but also to prescribe an almost complete reduction of pollutants from the first few metres, for example in the following situations:
- Extremely low temperatures
- Full throttle rides
- Rides at high altitude
- Trailer operation
"In simple terms, the legislators in Brussels are demanding that every car from the Volkswagen Up to the large SUV must not emit any pollutants in low concentrations even over the first two kilometres when driving uphill, even at minus ten degrees Celsius in winter with a trailer in tow and Lewis Hamilton at the wheel," said Thomas Koch, engine developer and expert in exhaust gas purification from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, summing up the ideas from Brussels
"That is technically impossible and everyone knows that," said Hildegard Müller, head of the VDA automotive industry association. The planned tightening of the rules would therefore be tantamount to a ban on cars with combustion engines.
The EU Commission intends to launch a public consultation in a few weeks' time, in which all stakeholders could participate. A concrete proposal would then follow in December 2021.