AERIS Air Quality Report: Euro 7 impact assessment, July 2021 update

Automotive Industry

Source: ACEA, 2021-07-27

The emission limit scenarios for Euro 7/VII and the associated changes to testing procedures that were proposed by the European Commission’s consultants in the stakeholder meetings in April 2021 are hugely challenging to industry at large.

In order to put the Euro 7/VII pollutant emission Regulations into context and to add data to the Commission studies, ACEA tasked AERIS Europe to look at the impact that the roll-out of the latest new Euro 6/VI vehicles is having on air quality and air quality compliance rates, at EU, regional and city level. The study also explores the impact that a range of potential Euro 7/VII scenarios might have in the future. The key findings are summarised in this AERIS Air Quality Report, published in March 2021.

Well-known fleet models and derived emission factors were supplemented by assumptions for the rate of electrification of cars, vans and HDVs. The impact of this base-case was modelled out to 2030 and 2035, showing that natural fleet replacement by the latest Euro 6/VI vehicles will already achieve a 67% reduction in road transport NOx emissions by 2030 (compared to 2020), rising to 79% reduction by 2035. The reductions in PM2.5 are less spectacular (exhaust particle emissions have been falling for many years already) but still amount to a 21% reduction in PM2.5 by 2030 (compared to 2020), falling to a 17.3% reduction by 2035.

The study puts those baseline figures into context by comparing the additional benefit that a range of moderate to very stringent Euro 7/VII scenarios could achieve. For NOx, Euro 7/VII scenarios would deliver a maximum additional reduction of 3.4% from cars and vans by 2030, and a maximum additional 1.6% reduction from HGVs.

By 2035, those figures would increase by just an additional 1.2% and 0.8% respectively. A further sensitivity analysis adding gasoline cars and vans shows that the additional NOx reductions from cars and vans would increase by a small fraction, by an additional 1% by 2030 and 1.3% by 2035. This sensitivity adjustment is addressed for the purpose of the report on the cost-benefit assessment as scenarios 2bis, 3bis and 7bis.

The study also modelled air quality concentration levels for more than 1,600 EU urban air quality monitoring stations. It showed that the compliance rates for the key air quality limit values for NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 will approach 100% by 2025, leaving a small number of city hot spots where local measures could be more effective than an EU Regulation. Ozone presents a different picture, but the effect of reducing road transport emissions beyond that achieved in the base-case does not improve the ozone compliance situation in urban areas.

Looking at the background level of emissions during the first COVID lockdown periods, it is also clear that further reductions in emissions from road transport will not impact the background level coming from other sources of pollution.

Bearing in mind the ongoing progress in road transport electrification, this clearly suggests that the air quality benefits of Euro 7/VII Regulations would be minimal (but highly expensive if something like the proposal of the Commission consultants were followed).

This report published on 24 March 2021 is complemented by three further reports detailing the NO2, particles and ozone compliance picture. The data behind the complete study is also available, together with the presentations given at webinars held on 24 and 29 March 2021, here.

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