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VDMA: Plans for Euro 7 standard must be changed - Combustion engine leads to a green future!


18 Feb 2021


Sustainable Dev.

The planned Euro 7 emission standard must not reverse the success of the previous Euro standard. The combustion engine remains an important motor for the journey to green mobility, as a necessary part of a hydrogen economy. The planned obligation that new vehicles in Europe must be practically emission-free from 2025 onwards would be an ecological, economic and technological aberration.

Frankfurt, 18 February 2021 - The EU Commission wants to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. This great challenge can only be mastered if it is tackled in cooperation with industry - as implied by the "Green Deal", for example. The Euro 7 emissions standard can also make an important contribution to this, which is supported by the mechanical and plant engineering sector. However, the EU is now planning the exact opposite for this standard: tighter regulations are already being considered for 2025, which experts believe would be ecologically and economically misguided, as they would imply the abrupt end of the combustion engine. "We are aware that many a politician sees an immediate end to the internal combustion engine as an advantage for the climate - but the opposite is the case," warns VDMA President Karl Haeusgen in view of the upcoming deliberations of the EU Commission on Euro 7. "Especially in this decade, the use of efficient internal combustion engines is still important, even more so since they can be operated in a climate-neutral manner with eFuels in sight and make the mass of existing vehicles more climate-friendly."

Hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk

In addition due to the long development times for new engines, investments in further improvements of internal combustion engines are acutely endangered by the currently planned Euro 7 standard. This would mean that hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Europe would be at stake in the vehicle industry, but also in partner industries such as mechanical engineering or the automotive supply industry, as well as in customer industries such as construction or agricultural technology. "A tightening and extension of the rules for exhaust emissions is right in principle - but the legislator must concentrate on beneficial and feasible emission reductions. In its current form, Euro 7 would only bring negligible ecological benefits, impede technical progress and at the same time endanger half a million jobs in Germany alone," Haeusgen analyses.

Several reasons speak against the currently planned Euro 7 regulation:

  • Technically not feasible: The aim is that by 2025, only vehicles that are virtually emission-free at all times during their operation will be allowed to enter service. Such a "zero-emission" vehicle at all times of operation is not feasible with combustion engines by 2025; the regulation represents a ban through the back door. However, many industries and service providers will continue to rely on vehicles with combustion engines for a long time to come and depend on a functioning research­ landscape and value chain around engine technology: agriculture as well as the construction industry, logistics companies, port operations and fire brigades. An abrupt end to the internal combustion engine for cars and trucks would not only prevent innovation and progress in this technology but would also indirectly endanger the security of supply for people in Europe.
  • Ecologically questionable:  On the one hand, a reduction of the exhaust emission values at the planned level is unnecessary because modern diesel engines are already much cleaner than prescribed. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the real emissions of a Euro 6 diesel car are 40 mg/km - 50 per cent below the current NOx limit. This means that new vehicles are well below the current EU ­air pollution targets. On the other hand, the EU plans are counterproductive because they ignore climate protection.

"The EU Commission must not allow itself to be guided by ideology - with the Euro 7 standard now under discussion it would cause enormous collateral damage," warns Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Executive Director of the VDMA. "Technologically desirable progress would also be destroyed with this standard. " An abrupt end to the internal combustion engine would inevitably mean that the development of CO2-neutral hydrogen-based fuels to be used in the internal combustion engine would be halted. "However, such synthetic fuels are indispensable in order to achieve the EU climate targets at all and to make the existing fleet greener more quickly," explains the VDMA Deputy Executive Director.

The better way: rely on a variety of new technologies

The VDMA is therefore advocating a different path to achieve the targeted CO2-neutrality in Europe. Exhaust and CO2-emissions must be reduced with the help of many different new technological developments. The use of hydrogen and synthetic fuels for new vehicles too is just as much a part of this as further optimisation of the combustion engine, the use of fuel cell technology and a rapidly growing number of battery-powered vehicles. Such a broad-based modernisation would also advance user industries, such as construction and agricultural machinery manufacturers in their transformation process in addition to the automotive industry. "The mechanical and plant engineering sector in Germany and Europe is already a pioneer in this field and will continue to explore and implement the possibilities of new technologies at full speed," emphasises VDMA President Haeusgen.



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