A final go for vehicle emission regulation in Europe

Air quality: The European Union says that longtime exposure to pollution from fine particulate matter and NOx from road traffic was responsible for more than 70,000 premature deaths in 2018, with 300,000 deaths from all air pollution. Road transport accounted for 39 percent of harmful NOx emissions that year, the EU says.

Urban residents: City dwellers across Europe who frequently do not own cars, are particularly affected, since road transport accounts for 47 percent of NOx emissions in urban zones. Limiting such pollutants could save thousands of lives. The EU says that in 2035, Euro 7 regulations will cut passenger car and van NOx emissions by 35 percent and those by buses and trucks by 56 percent. Brake particulates will be cut by 27 percent.

The emissions control industry: AECC, the trade group that lobbies on behalf of companies that make catalysts and filters, such as Johnson Matthey, NGK and Vitesco, had called for an “ambitious” Euro 7 proposal. It did not necessarily get that, but any tightening of pollution regulations means more content per vehicle for its member manufacturers. The official reaction from AECC is that it “welcomed” the Euro 7 proposal — and, not surprisingly, pressed the European Parliament and Council to adopt the rules as soon as possible. But in the long run, the EU’s effective ban on internal combustion engines after 2035 means that these companies’ revenues in Europe will decline sharply.

Brake and tire suppliers: A central promise of Euro 7 is that it will set limits for particulate matter from brakes and tires, which means that companies such as Brembo and Michelin will be able to market new technologies at what is almost certain to be higher cost to their customers. Brembo, for one, says its Greentive brake disc, when combined with a special friction material for pads, can decrease emissions of particulate matter by 50 percent.

Of note, brake dust limits for vehicles 3.5 metric tons or less are set at 7 mg/km until 2035, and then 3 mg/km thereafter; limits for tire emissions have not yet been set.

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