A coordinated resistance has emerged from eight countries against the proposed Euro-7 emission standards by the European Union.
Led by the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia have signed a document that labels the suggested emission limits as unrealistic.
The “non-paper” has been sent to the Swedish EU Presidency and the European Commission and seen by Euractiv. “We oppose any new exhaust emission requirements for cars and vans as they would divert sector investment away from the recently agreed path to zero CO2 emissions from cars,” quotes Euractiv.
The countries here refer to the EU’s previous commitment to phase out combustion engines by 2035.
While the EU proposal suggests the Euro-7 emissions standard for cars would take effect in July 2025 and July 2027 for trucks, the coalition, in its letter, is advocating to postpone the emission standard for at least three years for cars and five for trucks.
The signatories argue that the Euro-7 standard would hinder the industry’s investments in achieving the goal of zero CO2 emissions in passenger cars set for 2035. They also assert that the proposed limits are overly stringent and raise concerns about their feasibility.
Czech Republic’s Minister of Transport, Martin Kupka, expects more countries to join the alliance, although Germany is not currently among them.
The EU is yet to respond to the joint statement, and it remains to be seen how this collective resistance will impact the formulation of the Euro-7 emission standards.
When the EC put the draft forward last November, the aim was to merge the existing Euro-6 standards for passenger cars and Euro VI standards for commercial vehicles into a single comprehensive framework.
Moreover, the Euro-7 standard would apply to all vehicles, regardless of whether powered by diesel, gasoline, hybrid, or electricity, because it considers brake abrasion and tyres emitting microplastics.
The argument among carmakers against Euro 7, therefore, argues the regulations are too costly and unnecessary because the industry is spending tens of billions of euros on zero-emission electric vehicles.
But the European Commission considers the regulations necessary to cut harmful emissions and prevent a repeat of Volkswagen’s so-called Dieselgate emissions scandal of 2015.
Still, industry bodies shared the opinion now picked up by some EU countries. Both the VDA and the ACEA said at the time the new regulation could slow down the transition to zero-emission transport.
“The auto industry takes its role to reduce both CO2 and pollutant emissions very seriously,” said Oliver Zipse, ACEA President and CEO of BMW. “Unfortunately, the environmental benefit of the Commission’s proposal is very limited, whereas it heavily increases the cost of vehicles.”
Non-governmental organisations such as the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Transport & Environment opposed these views. “The technologies to make the last generation of cars with internal combustion engines even cleaner are not prohibitively expensive,” said Felipe Rodriguez of the ICCT.
“The proposals for cars are so weak, the auto industry might have drafted them themselves,” added Anna Krajinska, head of vehicle emissions and air quality at T&E. “Despite enjoying record profits, carmakers have sold the Commission a lie that an ambitious Euro 7 is unaffordable.”
ICE cars aside, the regulation for commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses remained vague and led to discussions. Bus manufacturers like Daimler, for example, have announced plans to forego the Euro-7 in development since the EU is planning to require all city buses to be zero-emission from 2030 anyway.
The company here appears to be calling for clarity on the way to decarbonisation rather than delays such as those proposed again today. The latest emission targets for HGV were laid out this February.