The European Commission’s new standards will be the first in the world to regulate emissions of microplastics and other harmful particles from tires and brakes in an attempt to crack down on air pollution.
The European Union has set tougher emission standards for vehicles — all cars, vans, trucks and buses — sold in the bloc with the aim of lowering toxic release from tailpipes, brakes and tires.
The new rules, dubbed Euro 7, were presented by the European Commission on Thursday as necessary “to set more ambitious limits for air pollutants” and “ensure that vehicles remain clean for a much longer part of their lifetime.”
Air pollution was estimated to be responsible for 300,000 premature deaths in the bloc in 2018. Of this, exposure to pollution from fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides from road traffic made up more than 70,000 deaths.
“More than 20 percent of cars and vans and more than 50 percent of the heavy-duty vehicles on our streets are expected to emit pollutants from the tailpipe up to 2050,” the Commission said in a Q&A statement.
The guidelines are expected to lower nitrogen oxide emissions from cars and vans by 35 percent and from buses and trucks by 56 percent in 2035.
The Euro 7 standards also cover harmful pollutants emitted from vehicle tailpipes, brakes and tires, including ultrafine particles, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.
It estimates that particles from the tailpipe will be lowered by 13 percent from cars and vans, and 39 percent from buses and lorries, while particles from the brakes of cars will be lowered by 27 percent.
“Emissions will be monitored by on-board sensors, making the periodic technical controls and compliance checks easier and ensuring that emissions will not increase disproportionately over time, even when these vehicles are exported to third countries,” the Commission said.
‘Fit for 55’ package
The proposal will be submitted to the European Parliament and the EU's member countries with a goal of the guidelines taking effect in July 2025 for cars and vans and July 2027 for heavy-duty vehicles.
Last month, EU lawmakers and member states reached a deal to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by 2035.
The deal was the first agreement of the bloc’s “Fit for 55” package, which the European Commission set up to achieve the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent over this decade.
Under the deal, carmakers will be required to reduce the emissions of new cars sold by 55 percent in 2030, compared to 2021, before reaching a 100 percent cut five years later.
Criticism from automotive industry
The commission said it was working on a further proposal to reduce CO2 emissions produced by trucks and buses but the current limitations have sparked criticism from the automotive industry.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) argues current standards for pollutants were already stringent and “at a barely measurable level” thanks to high-tech technology.
Mainly, the industry has argued the proposal risks slowing the transition to transportation with zero emissions as funds may be diverted from electric vehicle design to combustion engines.
Martin Sander, the general manager of Ford of Europe, said the sector should purely focus on the switch to all-electric instead of “diverting resources to yesterday’s technology."
For consumers, the EU estimates its requirements will add between $91-152 for the cost of cars and around $2,640 for the cost of lorries. But ACEA director Oliver Zipse insisted the proposal will "heavily increase the cost of vehicles."
In addition, the Commission plans to expand testing conditions for cars such as driving in temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius, which the automotive industry argues are “extreme driving conditions that have hardly any real-life relevance,” CGTN reports.