Ten things fire fleet operators should know about Euro VI

Published:  27 August, 2013

Euro VI is coming into force on January 1, 2014. However what does it actually mean for vehicle operators? Hemmingfire highlights ten key aspects of the new engine legislation.

There is a difference between Euro 6 and Euro VI. Simplistically, Euro 6 is a set of European Union standards that will regulate the limits of exhaust emissions allowed by new vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and Euro VI vehicles over 3.5 tonnes sold across the EU. Whereas for passenger cars and vehicles up to 3.5t GVW, the standards are defined by vehicle driving distance, g/km, for LGVs they are defined by engine energy output, g/kWh, and are therefore not comparable. This article is focusing on the Euro VI standard.

1. What is Euro VI?

Euro VI is the most comprehensive EU standard to date on the reduction of emissions from commercial vehicles. As compared with Euro 5, particle emissions are to be reduced by 66% and nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by even 80% over the existing exhaust-gas standard. Euro VI will further tighten up the acceptable amounts of nitrogen oxides, total hydrocarbon, non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter that vehicles of different classes can emit.

2. When will Euro VI come in to force?

Euro VI, comes into force on January 1st 2014 and demands significant reductions in the hydrocarbon, nitrous oxide and particulate emissions made by all heavy duty diesel engines registered after that date. All newly registered trucks and buses in Europe must meet this standard. The completed Euro VI regulation with all regulatory details was adopted in January 2012. Euro VI certification has actually been available across the European Union since April 2012.

3. What is specifically regulated with Euro VI?

Pollutants and emissions from vehicles are to be reduced to a minimum. With the introduction of Euro VI, a new standardised test method for measuring pollutant emissions will also enter into force. Manufacturers must certify in the future, that the exhaust gas limits of their commercial vehicles are complied with for at least 700,000 km or seven years. Furthermore, regulations will apply for permanent monitoring of exhaust-gas management as well as for opening up servicing and repair instructions to maintenance providers, this will undoubtedly require further investment for vehicle maintenance workshops.

4. How reliable will Euro VI vehicles be?

Meeting the demands of maintaining the Euro VI standard will require a high standard of technical effort. Based upon modern engine and injection technologies, the elements of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), selective catalytic reduction(SCR) and diesel particle filters should ensure compliance with the Euro VI exhaust gas limits.

Most of the major truck manufacturers developed these technologies and successfully established them in the European market many years ago. However the maintenance is certainly going to be of a high standard and the requirement of up to date diagnostic equipment will be a fundamental aspect of maintaining vehicles. 

The reality is no-one really knows how reliable Euro VI vehicles will be, but it is logical to assume that they should certainly not be any less reliable than their predecessors. There is always scaremongering when new technology is launched, as some were fearing the introduction of catalytic converters, ultra-low sulphur diesel, bio diesel and continuously recycling traps – the road haulage industry was going to grind to halt with major mechanical components failing on the road side, none of which ever came to fruition.

5. Will Euro VI also increase the fuel consumption?

Truck manufacturers have continuously reduced the fuel consumption of their engines (they have to in times when fuel prices are soaring), whilst continually having to fulfill raised emission requirements. This has undoubtedly impacted negatively on fuel consumption due to their operating principle.

The reality is that to achieve the higher standard engines will be using more fuel as they will be running hotter. In general, it must be noted that fuel consumption is the result of many other factors; each emission stage has an effect on fuel consumption, but other criteria such as aerodynamics, drive train design, rolling friction and vehicle handling have an even greater impact. Commercial vehicle operators can influence these individual factors, for instance by choosing a suitable vehicle configuration with an appropriate drive train design, driver/efficiency training, telematics and correct vehicle setup (tyre pressures/condition).

6. How much?

As of now, prices are not published but getting a feel from the manufacturers and industry insiders the figure being bandied around is an increase of approximately £10,500 per vehicle. This obviously does not include any other standard manufacturer price increases and other factors such as the strength of the Euro versus the Pound. It is interesting that all manufacturers are quoting a similar figure and it will be interesting to see at launch who breaks first.

7. What are the benefits of Euro VI?

Euro VI vehicles are meant to be extremely environmentally friendly and practically pollution-free. The acquisition of a Euro VI vehicle is a definitely a contribution towards sustainable transportation of goods, services and extremely environmentally friendly passenger transportation. It will also contribute to company corporate compliance obligations.

8. Are there any disadvantages with operating Euro VI vehicles?

The major disadvantage is the higher purchase price for Euro VI trucks. Servicing and maintenance costs are likely to increase; brought about by the higher diagnostics for Euro VI exhaust-gas management as well as the replacement/cleaning of the particulate filter elements. Some vehicle types may require more space for the Euro VI exhaust-gas system which will cause restrictions for bodies and attachments. This will be particularly relevant to car transporters where there are maximum height restrictions and more importantly, front axle weights. It is probable that the payload will also be lower proportional to the additional weight of the Euro VI exhaust-gas system.

9. Will the servicing and repair costs for trucks and buses increase with Euro VI?

Theoretically, vehicle servicing costs should not change compared to Euro 5/EEV. However the diagnostics and servicing work on the exhaust-gas system will undoubtedly increase. It is also likely that parts costs will increase and the impact of downtime will need to be considered. Invariably with new technology and product launches, there will always be glitches and ‘gremlins’ and the reality is nobody knows what these will be and consequently will all the parts be instantly available?

The answer is probably not and the harsh facts are while a vehicle will be warranted, operators are going to have to legislate for downtime whilst parts availability issues are addressed. It should also be acknowledged that this will be a short-term issue only really arising at product launch, the caveat being that there a significant number of product launches at once. 

10. Must a higher value loss be reckoned with for the purchase of Euro V commercial vehicles in the next few years?

As viewed today it would suggest, a resounding no. Euro 5/EEV (and earlier emission standards) used commercial vehicles can be marketed throughout the world and it is not unheard of to downgrade vehicles to a higher emissions standard even down to Euro II or Euro III, to maintain reliability with lower standards of fuel in different countries.

Conclusion

It’s coming and as with all other new technologies it will roll-out with a whimper and we will soon start fretting about Euro VII.

  • Operation Florian

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