BERLIN -- The German auto industry welcomed the Advisory Group on Vehicle Emission Standards (AGVES) revision of the European Union's Euro 7 regulations limiting tailpipe emissions of harmful pollutants from cars.
The VDA industry lobby group reacted positivity after the AGVES submitted a weakened recommendation for Euro 7 regulations to the EU Commission.
"The plans presented for the new Euro 7 standard for passenger cars show that the EU Commission has accepted the limits of what is technically feasible and has abandoned unattainable targets," VDA president Hildegard Mueller said in a statement.
The organization had said the regulations effectively amounted to a ban on internal combustion engines, and said the problem is not combustion engines, but rather the fossil fuels they burn. The VDA sits on the advisory board for the AGVES.
"It's not the engine that's a problem for the climate, it's the fossil fuel," Müller's statement said. "The automotive industry supports an ambitious climate policy. The German automotive industry stands for climate-neutral mobility by 2050 at the latest."
The VDA had protested the planned Euro 7 emissions regulations when AGVES released them in October 2020.
"The new proposals for reducing pollutant emissions are a factor of 5 times to 10 times harsher than those for Euro 6," Müller's statement said. "We must continue to be very careful that the internal combustion engine is not rendered impossible by Euro 7. On the other hand, the EU Commission confirmed today that this is not its goal. We will remind the EU Commission of this commitment when shaping the proposals."
The German auto industry was not alone in voicing its concern over emissions regulations it regards as too strict.
Reuters reported the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire warned the EU's environmental regulations should not destroy the auto industry.
"Let us be clear, this norm does not suit us," Le Maire told Le Figaro newspaper. "Some proposals are going too far, the work must continue."
The German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer voiced similar concerns to the German Press Agency (DPA) last week, calling for "bold" emissions specifications while keeping in mind the limits of what is technically possible.
"We must not lose the automotive industry in Europe, because otherwise it will go elsewhere," he told the DPA. "We have to be modern and innovative, even with strict specifications, but they have to be affordable and feasible."
The laboratory limits of the currently valid Euro 6 standard have remained unchanged since 2014.
The Commission plans to present its finalized impact assessment in June and will make a final decision on Euro 7 emissions standards in November.
However, it is likely that the finalized regulations will not be introduced until 2025 at the earliest, perhaps even as late as 2027.