Did the car companies win?

Last year, Carlos Tavares announced the withdrawal of the Stellantis group from ACEA, the association of European car manufacturers. Annoyed by the powerlessness of the ACEA as the EU prepared to ban the internal combustion engine by 2035, the CEO of Stellantis then devised a new form of car representation in the interests of citizens. To, according to his words, move on from a simple “lobbying for more direct interaction with citizens and stakeholders“.

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A transition that has visibly worked, as shown by a major study signed by the VoxEurope site, which shows in particular the amounts invested annually by manufacturers and brand associations to put pressure on Members of the European Parliament. Just so that the latter are not too strict in their vote on laws concerning the automotive sector. Without blindly following this research, we must testify, with regard to the Euro7 dossier, to a clear softening on the part of the EU between the original text and the text adopted this morning.

The new Euro7 standard, which was finally approved this morning, has seen its defenders and opponents clash for months, in a classic political polarization. On the one hand, the EELV and Green MEPs, who tooth and nail defended a stricter measure on nitrogen oxides and particles in the exhaust gases of hybrids and thermals, and on the other hand, the manufacturers, who quickly expressed their dissatisfaction in the belief that this the bill too high for the customers. According to them, the Euro 7 standard, as initially proposed, would have meant between €700 and €2,500 in additional costs. (depending on the range) on the price of a new car. But for the opposite camp this amount was largely excessive and it would have been necessary to include on the final bill between €250 and €450 to compensate for the additional equipment, such as a more efficient catalyst/SCR/FAP assembly, associated with a tank of Adblue bigger. A ratio of 10 between the two: who is telling the truth? As is often the case, the reality probably lies somewhere in the middle…

According to our information, the basic text would have provided for a tightening of the test conditions with the obligation to respect the NOx limits in… all possible situations. Such as, for example, at an altitude of 2000 meters (thus enriching the mix) with a caravan on the butt. In other words, a fairly rare practice for millions of motorists…

Whatever the increase would have been, it would have been partly unjustified. And the entire industry confirms that an overly harsh Euro7 would have consequently damaged the investments essential to prepare for the other major challenge facing the European automotive industry: the end of thermal energy in 2035. Even more questionable, to the extent that a majority of manufacturers’ margins have continued to rise since the post-Covid-19 recovery, without being fully reinvested in the right place. On the other hand, the timetable for this new standard raises questions. Mandatory from 2030, it will only take five years before a likely ban on the sale of the thermal engine in Europe. The additional costs of a new standard that was too strict would therefore not have paid much dividends over time. This may have finally convinced the EU to adopt a less strict text.

Euro 7: status quo?

In concrete terms, the limits for NOx remain those of Euro 6: 60 mg/km for private vehicles and 70 mg/km for vehicles with a power/weight ratio of less than 48 hp/ton. The big news will be the appearance of restrictions on particles in brakes and tires. In terms of braking, the law also provides for a maximum of 7 mg/km PM10 until 2034. After that, this will increase to 3 mg/km. And all types of vehicles will be affected… electrical included! Fortunately for them and the hybrids, there would be reduction factors of 0.15 and 0.30 respectively. This means that an electrically measured power of 10 mg/km is actually only measured at 1.5 mg/km as soon as the factor is applied: well below the ceiling of the standard. Single hybrids and mild hybrids are also said to have reduction factors. In short, only pure thermals would be measured at their full value.

Openly shown favoritism for electric cars, but very inconsistent. As if the particles emitted by electric car tires are less harmful to health than those from thermal car tires… Trucks and buses are not spared, they will also experience a significant tightening of the limits for pollutant emissions.

MEPs want to align EU methodologies and calculation limits for brake particulate emissions and tire wear rates with international standards currently being developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. These rules would apply to all vehicles, including electric vehicles. The text also sets higher minimum performance requirements for the durability of batteries for cars and vans than those proposed by the Commission.”

Which could also lead to many cars being rejected under EVs at dealers in the coming years, depending on the chosen methodology for tire wear, which can only be measured by an estimate based on a specific calculation (no device is able to physically measure tire wear). tire wear on a bench). A 2020 independent study (Emission Analytics) recalled important data: “Higher vehicle mass and high engine torque can lead to a rapid increase in particulate matter emissions. Half a ton of battery power can result in tire emissions nearly 400 times higher than actual thermal exhaust emissions“In the particle field, heavy and electric couplings will therefore revise their specimens in the future.

The brakes, the big question mark

If electric cars that are too powerful and too heavy have to pay a high price for their gluttony in synthetic rubber, there will also be all those cars that wear out their brakes a little too much. Measuring equipment already exists there that controllers will be able to use in the coming years, pending approval. But some manufacturers could have already found a solution: this good old drum brake, which releases almost no dust because everything is in the drum. Volkswagen already uses these brakes at the rear of IDs for efficiency reasons (the brand explained that drum brakes generated less friction and allowed a small gain in the coasting phase).

For others, it will be necessary to develop systems (suction at stirrup level) to capture the particles before they end up in nature. Equipment manufacturers will also have a lot to do as they need to produce discs and brake pads that are more resistant to wear. We have already talked about it in our columns, some are already on their way, such as Brembo, which has been working on a kit that partially replaces the principle of wear and tear with adhesion between brakes and brake pads. Equipment manufacturers have six years to adapt.

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