After repeated delays, the European Commission last week released its proposed Euro 7 pollution rules, succeeding Euro 6, which came into force in 2014. This is significant because they will most likely be the final internal-combustion engine regulations enacted in Europe, with the EU requiring the sales of only zero-emission vehicles after 2035.
Automakers had fought against the new rules, arguing that money spent on new compliance measures could better be invested in lowering the cost of electrification, and that there will be little need for new rules because the proportion of internal-combustion engine sales will continue to fall ahead of the 2035 zero-emission deadline.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares recently called Euro 7 a "diversion from the major goal of electrification."
The recent surge in inflation -- and car prices -- in Europe has added force to that argument. Whether that had an effect on the European Commission is unclear, but the proposed Euro 7 rules were not as strict as some automakers had feared.
Nonetheless, they mark a clear break from Euro 6, notably unifying the standards for diesel and gasoline vehicles on pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), toughening targets for trucks and buses, and setting limits on brake dust and tire particles -- which will make up the main source of pollution from road transport in the zero-emission age.
The regulations are now subject to ratification by the European Parliament and Council. The expectation is that they will go into effect for passenger cars and vans in July 2025, with trucks and buses in 2027.
Reaction to the proposal was mixed last week, but there are some clear (and not so clear) winners and loses.