Policy update

Changes to the motor vehicle type-approval system in the European Union

In spring 2018, the political bodies of the European Union (EU) adopted a number of measures designed to improve the procedure for determining emissions of new road vehicles. These measures are part of two distinct pieces of regulation:

  • A new type-approval framework regulation; and
  • An amendment to regulation EU 2017/1151 to introduce the second act of the European WLTP regulation and the fourth package of the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure. These bring in new elements such as in-service conformity testing with RDE and the introduction of fuel consumption meters for monitoring purposes.

With the recent adoption of these measures the EU has taken a major step towards preventing another Dieselgate. However, some aspects originally proposed by the European Commission (and supported by NGOs and consumer associations) were not included in the final regulation, such as the creation of an EU-wide type approval authority or breaking the financial ties between vehicle manufacturers and technical services. In addition, thorough implementation of any of the adopted measures in practice will also require that member states provide sufficient financial resources for their type approval bodies.

For the future, the European Commission (EC) has signaled that there will not be any further packages of the RDE regulation. Instead, we expect the EC to focus on developing a Euro 7 regulation. While the previous work on RDE and WLTP was centered around making changes to the way in which vehicle emissions are being measured, key aspects of a Euro 7 standard would be to revise the current emission limits, to harmonize emission limits for different propulsion concepts and technologies, and to add pollutants which are currently not yet regulated.

Figure 1