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The new Euro 7 standards and their impact on the automotive industry

06 June 2022

The final arrangements for the new Euro 7 passenger vehicle emission standard are to be presented in July of this year. The widely discussed regulation will replace the already existing, rather restrictive Euro 6D standard and is expected to impose even stricter emission limits on manufacturers. What does this mean for the passenger car market and what solutions can help comply with the new requirements? 

The Euro 7 standard – what does it imply? 

Pole tekstoweThe latest Euro 7 standard is expected to introduce new, stricter restrictions on emissions of carbon monoxide, PM 10 and PM 2.5 particulates, as well as NOx. The requirements for after-treatment devices used in cars in the form of particulate filters and catalytic converters are also to be tightened. 

When is the Euro 7 standard supposed to take effect? 

It has already been postponed twice, due to the doubts it raised in the automotive industry. The first of these concerned the stringency of the limits, which were expected to be up to several times higher than the current ones. It is worth mentioning that the Euro 6D standard, in effect since January 1 of this year, is already so demanding that some small gasoline city cars have disappeared from the market 

The biggest problem, however, is the short time manufacturers will have to adapt to the new requirements. After all, the Euro 7 emission standard would take effect as early as 2025, less than three years from now.   

Read also:Is the Diesel era coming to an end?

What is Euro 7 and how can it change the automotive industry? 

The tightened Euro 7 standard is part of the European Union's overall goal of achieving CO2 neutrality as early as in 2050. It represents an attempt to accelerate the shift toward reducing the carbon footprint that we are already seeing across the automotive industry. At the time of the presentation of the first proposals for the new regulations in October 2020, automakers said that such stringent emission limits would be unattainable for internal combustion engines and would result in the phasing out of diesel. 

What is the latest emissions standard and what is it designed to do? 

The European Commission has stressed that the aim of the new regulations is not to exclude specific types of propulsion, but to improve them towards a lower environmental impact. The final arrangements are therefore to be made in consultation with the industry and take into account what is technically feasible at the time. As a result, the draft has been toned down, but that doesn't at all mean that this segment won't see major changes. Raising the Euro 7 limits too dramatically could make all internal combustion cars more expensive by up to several dozen percent. Thus, they would become cost-prohibitive for a large group of current buyers.  

Read also: Diesel or electric cars? Why are Europeans choosing low-emission cars?

Does Euro 7 mean the end of small combustion city cars? 

Many market observers point out that the current regulation of Euro 6D emission levels has led to the elimination of the cheapest small gasoline city cars from the market. This is because the cost of using more efficient after-treatment devices or hybrid propulsion systems makes up the bulk of the price of the entire car. So it is becoming more rational for automakers to offer large and medium-sized hybrid or electric cars. The stricter Euro 7 emission standard will further accelerate this trend. Despite the fact that many car companies are moving away from further development of traditional powertrain technology and intend to stop producing them even before their planned phase-out date of 2035, there are also some manufacturers who declare that they intend to produce combustion cars for the European market for as long as possible. Faced with the new, stricter Euro 7 standard, they will face the task of radically reducing emissions of particulate matter, CO2 and NOx, which can be helped by, among other things, new material technologies. Innovative plastics that accompany revolutionary changes in car construction, such as EPP foamed polypropylene, are gaining in importance. 

Foamed polypropylene, EPP – the answer to the Euro 7 challenge 

As the drafters of the Euro 7 standard point out, it is intended to be a continuation of the provisions contained in the Euro 6D standard, rather than an entirely new standard. However, the automotive industry must already be working on optimizations and innovations to comply with the European Union's ambitious environmental goals. Electric cars have too short ranges for now, while internal combustion engines must continue to be optimized to reduce emissions. Both of these goals lead to the need to further reduce the weight of vehicles through the use of new, lighter material technologies. One such technology is the production of automotive parts from EPP foamed polypropylene. The foamed plastics molding method allows for large- and medium-volume production of high-quality components that have both minimal weight and excellent strength. Today, EPP material composed in 95% of air successfully replaces traditional plastic or polyurethane foam in areas such as the production of seats, door panels, car cockpits or floor and trunk fillings, reducing their weight by up to 50% compared to traditional materials. At the same time, foamed polypropylene is so strong that it is used in the production of bumper shock absorbers. It's an ideal, versatile material technology that supports changes in the automotive industry.  

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