For many years, automotive manufacturers have focused on reducing vehicle emissions and improving the fuel-efficiency of cars. In 2008, the European Union came up with some regulations for diesel engines that gradually required improved performance and fewer emissions over a period of several years. The current regulation for diesel passenger cars is the Euro 5 standard. However, in September of 2014, automotive manufacturers will have to comply with the stricter Euro 6 standard.
The Euro 5 standard
The current requirement for diesel passenger cars is the Euro 5 standard. This standard places certain regulations on the emissions and performance of the engine. Euro 5 standards require that carbon monoxide emissions are 500 mg/km or less, particulates are 5 mg/km or less (which is 80 percent less than Euro 4 standard), nitrogen oxide emissions of 180 mg/km or less (20 percent less than Euro 4), and a combined emission of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide 230 mg/km or less.
In September 2014, these regulations will change and become stricter.
The Euro 6 standard
As the law stands now, as of September 2014, for vehicles to become approved for manufacturing, they will have to comply with the new standard. By January of 2015, for a vehicle to be registered or sold, it will have to comply with the new Euro 6 standard. This means that existing diesel vehicles that do not comply with Euro 6 will no longer be allowed on the road in Europe.
The Euro 6 standard is even stricter when it comes to diesel car emissions. The new regulations for diesel emissions include in addition to the Euro 5 rules:
- Emissions of 80 mg/km or less (50 percent less than Euro 5)
- hydrocarbons and nitrogen emissions of 170 mg/km or less
The affect on automotive manufactures and drivers
For the most part, vehicle manufacturers in Europe are on board with the new changes. Most diesel manufacturers have complied with the current Euro 5 standard on their new model vehicles. However, some automotive manufactures are taking the next step and already creating vehicles that will meet the Euro 6 standard. This is due to the fact that if a company sells a vehicle that cannot be used after the new standard is implemented, the customer must sell the vehicle or purchase a costly upgrade to reduce the emissions from the diesel engine.
To avoid this problem, some vehicle manufacturers are already complying with the stricter deadlines. For example, Mercedes-Benz has manufactured all A-Class and B-Class diesel engines to meet the 2014 standards since 2009. This means that all of their diesel vehicles from 2009 on will not require any changes to remain legal on the road. This puts Mercedes-Benz and the new Mazda 6 way ahead of other vehicle competition, especially brands that have just now updated to the Euro 5 regulations.
The change to increased regulations and standards on diesel vehicles will be hard for some car manufacturers and car owners. Since the new emission standards must be met to register the vehicle, anyone with an older version of diesel engine will have to upgrade or replace their vehicle. Since Mercedes-Benz already meets Euro 6 standards, owners of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be ahead of the curve.