WHAT EU6 MEANS FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

The new European Union emissions legislation (EU6), which is being implemented from 1st September 2015, is the latest set of standards in which vehicle manufacturers have to adhere to in an attempt to protect the environment from harmful gases. The new legislation consists of the reduction in the amount of harmful exhaust emissions, such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HCs and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM), which is allowed to be emitted into the atmosphere from passenger and light commercial vehicles (LCV).

EU6 states that from September all new UK sold passenger cars and LCVs under the weight of 1305kg must comply with the following rulings; diesel vehicles must reduce levels of NOx emissions to a maximum of 80mg/km ( a reduction of 100mg/kg from the current allowance of 180mg/km). The NOx limit for petrol cars will remain at 60mg/km.

In response to this a new breed of ‘super-clean’ turbocharged Euro 6 diesel cars are now becoming available in the UK – this is because the latest targets are near impossible for diesel cars to meet without the use of turbochargers. Typically, older diesel cars were considered as being ‘gas guzzlers’, and were known for producing high levels of NOx and PM – but notably diesel engines have always produced significantly lower rates of CO2 in comparison to petrol vehicles. The latest breed of new ‘super-clean’ diesel engines are now proving to be virtually as environmentally-friendly as their petrol counterparts, whilst still maintaining excellent performance outputs.

The transition from naturally aspirated engines to turbocharged engines is not only applicable to diesel engines as many manufacturers are now introducing turbochargers to their petrol ranges as well in a bid to maintain and even improve performance whilst complying with the EU6 regulations. This trend is particularly applicable when looking at the luxury German vehicle manufacturer, BMW.

For the past 18 months BMW have been transitioning their current range of models from naturally aspirated to turbocharged – and going forward, at least for the foreseeable future, all new cars produced from the existing range of models by the leading auto giants will feature turbochargers. As Auto Express pointed out in February, “You can buy a BMW today with one, two or even three turbochargers, but not with none”.

Those in the automotive industry are coining this new trend, the ‘turbocharger boom’. As turbocharger specialists, the team here at Turbo Dynamics have seen first-hand an influx in the number of turbochargers we are manufacturing for more modern cars with smaller engines.

Stuart Flanagan of Turbo Dynamics reveals:

“This is because turbochargers offer drivers the best of both worlds; the ability of being able to improve fuel economy whilst maintaining an impressive output of both power and torque – providing the answer for car manufactures and their quest of lower carbon emissions”.

HOW EU6 WILL AFFECT FLEET MANAGEMENT

It is not just the manufacturers who are affected by the new ruling, with less than a month to go companies who are using fleet diesel vehicles such as company cars or LCVs will need to be prepared or risk potentially seeing their new company assets immobilised.

This is because in an effort to adhere to EU6 many of the EU6 applicable engines will now require AdBlue, which is a relatively inexpensive exhaust additive which is approximately two parts water, one part urea that helps neutralise harmful NOx emissions. It is the management of AdBlue levels that companies need to educate their fleet drivers in now before the legislation is officially enforced.

For many fleet vehicles, typically the much larger and heavier kind, the use of AdBlue is not new – However, from September the use of it will be much more widespread as it will now become an important requirement for diesel fleet vehicles, including passenger ‘company’ cars and LCVs, in order to comply with EU6.

Business mobility specialist, Alphabet, are warning that although many new diesel cars should carry enough AdBlue to last between services, because of the nature of the usage of fleet vehicles they are more prone to use the AdBlue reserves up at a much quicker rate. This is why is it critical that companies ensure their fleet drivers monitor the levels a vehicle’s levels of AdBlue as Alphabet warn failure to do so could result in issues that can immobilise a vehicle.

For those concerned about fleet management and the integration of the AdBlue additive into their systems, Alphabet have produced Management Driver Guides to help fleet managers and drivers with the transition and to offer guidance.

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