The proposal of the 27 to soften the requirements of Euro 7 is another step in the negotiation of this standard, which still has to be discussed in Brussels. In fact, on October 12 the EU Parliament will decide its own. But it brings with it important changes.

What is a Euro standard?

The first Euro came into force in 1992. The following ones arrived in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2014 and between those periods, different evolutions have been implemented. Their goal: to improve air quality and make it healthier, especially in cities. To do this, they set the emission limits that all new vehicles must meet, but they do not take into account CO2, responsible for global warming, but harmless to health. One Euro measures the emission of elements that do directly harm health, such as NOx (which became known with dieselgate), particles and unburned hydrocarbons.

And what set the Euro 7 until now?

The European Commission already softened the original draft last November. Basically, it kept the NOx limit in passenger cars at the lowest level required by the current Euro 6: 60 micrograms per kilometer. That meant that gasoline stayed the same, but diesels had to reduce it by 25%. The requirements for heavy goods vehicles were tightened and, for the first time in the world, particles released by tyres and brakes would also be measured. The measurement of this pollution would be done through more realistic tests and controls were established, also for electric vehicles, to ensure that their level of emissions remained stable for a period of 10 years. The initial idea was that the standard would come into force in July 2025 for cars and vans, and two years later, for trucks and buses.

What do the 27 propose now?

On the one hand, to delay the application of this timetable by two years, to which is added a grace period. On the other, maintain pollution levels as they are now in cars and vans, so there would be no need to work on diesel models. Test protocols are also respected. But it will begin to measure the pollution of brakes and wheels. According to the official document, many delegations considered the objectives set by the European Commission "too ambitious and even unrealistic".

Whose initiative has it been?

The latest push has come from Spain, which presides over the EU during this semester. In March, Pedro Sánchez promised that they would take advantage of this position to seek an "optimal and realistic" solution on Euro 7 that "makes investments compatible for the transition to the zero-emission vehicle with the limits on polluting emissions." And the employers Anfac thanked yesterday especially the Ministry of Industry. But this has not always been the case. Our country was among the first to join the ban on selling thermal cars in 2040 (then advanced to 2035) and has not aligned itself with those who have called for the regulation to be withdrawn, despite the fact that we depend too much on small combustion cars. That is, the most affected with a severe Euro 7. France, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, had already shown their faces for their vehicle production plants or manufacturers.

Does the industry win?

This sector -strategic in Spain and in the Old Continent- has complained about the large number of rules it has to comply with and increasingly numerous legislations against the automobile. The new Euro 7 will save them billions in investments to subtract from those they have to make in electrification. In addition, for cars with an expiration date, as they can not be sold beyond 2035, and for a reduction in emissions of only 5%. Renewing the fleet of vehicles – with an average age of almost 13 years in the EU – would reach 80%, they argued.

Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault and president of European employers' association Acea, warned that it could lead to the closure of up to four car factories in his group alone. Apart from leaving even easier the landing to Chinese brands, focused almost exclusively on the electric car.

And the consumer?

Also, because, although Brussels said that the adaptation to the new standard would have an average cost of about 300 euros per car, Acea, the employers' association of manufacturers, raised it to 2,000 euros in the smallest models. Because we would have to forget about pure combustion and manual utilities. They would have to be automatic and have some form of electrification. And that would drive them out of the market, jeopardizing the continuity of their production.

More benefits in the Spanish case

Wayne Griffiths, president of Seat, said that they would renew the Ibiza, Arona and Leon models if the emission regulations accompanied. Well, it seems that it will do it and it will be possible to stretch the commercial life of those cars ... as long as you want to bet on them. In addition, although the production of electric cars in Spain will grow exponentially from 2026 due to the projects already awarded or very close to being awarded (case of Stellantis), right now they only account for 7% of the total.

What do environmentalists say?

In November, Transport & Environment lamented that the Commission's proposals were so weak that they could have been drafted by the auto industry itself. "They will help whiten up to 100 million polluting cars that will be sold in the coming years," they said then. Yesterday, his spokesman denounced that the text of the 27 "is a disaster for air quality having put the record profits of car manufacturers ahead of the health of citizens."

  • Motor industry
  • Electric cars