Road to Zero: the last EU emission standard for cars, vans, buses and trucks

Four years on from the Dieselgate scandal, Europe is in the process of setting a new pollutant emissions standard for light and heavy duty vehicles. The future ‘post Euro-6/VI’ (informally called ‘Euro 7/VII’) norm gives the EU the opportunity to eradicate pollution from road transport, regain technological and regulatory leadership, and align standards with its new ‘Zero Pollution Ambition’ and the objective of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In this briefing, T&E sets out its blueprint for the post-Euro 6/VI standard.

Europe is currently in the middle of a global health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health, safety and job security of workers are rightly a priority for lawmakers. This makes the objectives of post-Euro 6/VI more important than ever. Public health experts warn that polluted air probably makes people more susceptible to viruses and the World Health Organisation has stated that climate change will likely increase the occurrence of infectious diseases.

Although the latest Euro 6d-temp/6d standards have somewhat reduced emissions from new cars, progress has been limited. Vehicles with combustion engines - diesel, petrol or natural gas - are still not clean when all pollutants or driving conditions are taken into account. It is time to prioritise public health, the environment and zero emissions technology innovation. For the post-Euro 6/VI standard, the EU’s priorities must be:

1. Euro 7 should be the last EU emissions standard. It should set the EU vehicle emission limits to the lowest level globally and define a clear roadmap to zero-pollution:

2. It should regulate all pollutants that are harmful to public health and the environment. It should include smaller particles, ammonia, NO2 and others that are currently not regulated.

3. Euro 7 should improve testing, approval and certification of vehicles to make sure emission limits apply under all possible driving conditions.

4. It should ensure that emission limits are met throughout the whole lifetime of the vehicle. Right now the EU has generally the lowest emission durability requirements globally.