The last hurdle has been passed. The Council of the European Union has definitively approved the Euro 7 regulation, the proposed legislation presented in 2022 by the EU Commission to reduce pollutant and climate-changing emissions (both exhaust and braking) of vehicles sold in the Old Continent. There are also minimum requirements on the battery life of electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

After today's 'yes' of the Member States and that of the Europarliament, which had given its green light in mid-March, the text will now have to go through a series of formal steps before it becomes operational, i.e. signatures of the presidents of the two European institutions, publication in the Official Journal of the Union and entry into force after 20 days. At that point, the deadlines set in the regulation itself for its application will be triggered, which the Council recalls are:

  • 30 months for new types of cars and vans and 42 months for new cars and vans;
  • 48 months for new types of buses, trucks and trailers and 60 months for new buses, trucks and trailers;
  • 30 months for new systems, components or separate technical units to be installed on passenger cars and vans and 48 months for those to be installed on buses, trucks and trailers.

Exhausts, brakes and batteries

But what exactly does Euro 7 stipulate? As far as exhaust emissions from cars and vans are concerned, the text maintains the standards already laid down in Euro 6: a compromise between Europe's plans and those of the manufacturers, who are sceptical about the introduction of technologies that would entail expenditure on research and development, to be retired in 2035, when the ban on selling petrol and diesel cars on the Old Continent comes into force.

However, the regulation introduces 'stricter requirements for solid particles', while 'for buses and heavy-duty trucks, the regulation imposes stricter limits for various pollutants, including some hitherto unregulated, such as nitrous oxide (N2O)'.

"In addition, the Euro 7 regulation introduces stricter limits for particle emissions produced during braking, with specific limits for electric vehicles. The new regulations also include stricter durability requirements for all vehicles in terms of both mileage and lifetime."