The European Parliament has voted in favour of proposed revisions to the impending Euro 7 emissions regulations, which are set to relax the testing procedures for new cars with significant implications for their manufacturers.
MEPs today voted to back the proposal for a relaxed version of the rules, called for recently by a group of member states and vehicle manufacturers, and talks will now begin with each EU government ahead of the final law being ratified.
The new version of Euro 7 will mean passenger cars are subject to similar emissions requirements as under the current Euro 6 regulations, rather than imposing drastically stricter targets and mandating the fitment of costly new drivetrain technology that several high-volume manufacturers had rallied against.
MEPs agree, though, that buses and HGVs should still be subject to tighter limits on their emissions output in real-world and laboratory environments, and said Europe should move to test and restrict brake and tyre particle emissions in line with international standards.
There were 329 votes in favour of the proposals, 230 against and 41 abstentions.
Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra hailed the vote as a successful compromise between Europe's carbon-reduction objectives and the need to support Europe's automotive industry. He said: "We have successfully struck a balance between environmental goals and the vital interests of manufacturers.
"It would be counterproductive to implement environmental policies that harm both Europe’s industry and its citizens. Through our compromise, we serve the interests of all parties involved and steer clear of extreme positions.”
But the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) warned that the new Euro 7 framework "still comes with a heavy price tag and at a very critical juncture in the industry's transformation".
Director general of the trade body Sigrid de Vries said: "The fact remains that Euro 7 represents a significant investment for vehicle manufacturers, on top of their huge decarbonisation efforts.
"It also comes in an extraordinarily challenging geopolitical and economic context, marked by soaring energy prices, supply chain shortages, inflationary pressures, and lagging consumer demand. Europe needs a proportionate Euro 7 that balances environmental concerns and industrial competitiveness.”
She highlighted that the automotive industry has "poured extensive resources" into complying with the current Euro 6 rules, with the effect that "exhaust emissions are barely measurable today".
The ACEA welcomed the move to test tyre and brake emissions, given their continued relevance to EVs, but warned that the current testing methods are "entirely new and untried", meaning there is uncertainty as to whether the imposed targets can be feasibly achieved.