National Seven: Essential or Necessary?


Wang Jinyu


In the recent ongoing price war between domestic car companies, there are various promotional rhetoric, including the voice of "China VII emission standards will be implemented by 2025 at the latest". At present, as the implementation time of China VIB approaches, the voice of "China VII emission standards are coming" is also endless. Not long ago, at the two sessions of the National People's Congress, some NPC deputies proposed that the national seven-stage motor vehicle pollutant emission standards should be launched as soon as possible. He Hong, deputy to the National People's Congress and deputy director of the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes that under the background of air pollution control, China should start the national seventh stage of motor vehicle pollutant emission standards as soon as possible, and publish the implementation rules of the national seven emission standards. However, there are also voices that the implementation of the National VII emission standard is of little significance and needs to be verified scientifically. In fact, due to various reasons, the implementation of the National VI emission standard has had a great impact on China's automotive industry. Based on past experience, is it ripe to include China VII emissions standards in the agenda? Or is there still value in formulating? Once the China VII emission standard arrives, what impact will it have on the automotive industry?

The formulation of China VII emission standards has attracted much attention

"I have been investigating the issue of motor vehicle emission standards for a long time, and China's current China VI emission standards have achieved good results since they were implemented last year. After decades of efforts, China's motor vehicle pollution control has made great progress. He Hong said that the current China VI emission standards have basically caught up with the footsteps of developed countries and are at the international advanced level, and the China VII emission standards should also be included in the agenda.

A few days ago, the European Parliament passed the "2035 European New Fuel Car and Small Truck Zero Emission Agreement", which said that the sale of new fuel cars and small vans in the EU27 will be stopped from 2035. The United States will also introduce new regulations on vehicle emissions that are stricter. The Motor Vehicle Emission Control Center of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China is also leading the formulation of new standards. He Hong put forward: "In this context, in order to further maintain China's national motor vehicle emission control at the international advanced level and accelerate the construction of a transportation power, it is imperative to implement the National VII emission standard for motor vehicles." I believe that the project establishment of China VII standards for motor vehicles should be started as soon as possible, and the formulation of China VII emission stage standards should be carried out. He Hong suggested that in addition to the administrative departments, it is necessary to fully listen to the suggestions of the industrial chain, especially upstream and downstream related enterprises, and at the same time absorb research units, associations and other forces to conduct in-depth exchanges and discussions. Through multi-party cooperation, it is necessary to conduct in-depth overall analysis of the feasibility of policies, routes, technologies, economy, etc., to ensure the rationality, accuracy and implementability of the formulation of China VII emission standards. At the same time, it should reflect Chinese characteristics and be more in line with the needs of Chinese application scenarios. He Hong said.

Lu Xindi, chief technical master of Dachai Plant of FAW Jiefang Powertrain Division, and Li Haihua, senior technician of electrical technology of Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Co., Ltd., also submitted suggestions for starting the formulation of China VII emission standards. They generally believe that the formulation of China VII should be formally initiated as soon as possible, and the standard should be given relatively sufficient time for development, and the standard should reflect Chinese characteristics and application scenarios, and be released as soon as possible; Reasonably arrange the pace of implementation of emission regulations, and leave reasonable time for industry enterprises, users and other industrial chains to carry out production, research and development preparations.

Public information shows that the Motor Vehicle Emission Monitoring Center of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has led the pre-research of the national seventh stage motor vehicle pollutant emission standards. The first phase of the pre-study was launched in October 2020 and has been completed; The second phase of the pre-study was launched in September 2022 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

Give enough time to arrange the pace of implementation reasonably

In fact, there have long been voices about the "formulation of China VII emission standards", and it is generally believed that the formulation should be accelerated. The China Internal Combustion Engine Association has also listed the formulation of National VII emission standards as an important task this year, and specially carried out the "Internal Combustion Engine Industry Development Policy Suggestions Discussion", and proposed to formally start the "National Seventh Stage Motor Vehicle Pollutant Emission Standard Formulation" research as soon as possible. The China Internal Combustion Engine Industry Association said that in the formulation of emission standards, it is necessary to better play the role of relevant industry associations, such as the China Internal Combustion Engine Industry Association, in the collection and analysis of industry-related data, standard technology and economic feasibility analysis, improve the implementability of standards, and better promote the high-quality development of the industry; The formulation of China VII emission standards is related to the sustainable development of the internal combustion engine industry, and the whole industry should make a unified voice to jointly promote the development of the industry.

Unlike some industry insiders in China who proposed to accelerate the formulation of China VII emission standards, the EU has recently had different voices on the formulation and implementation of Euro VII emission standards. Earlier, foreign media reported that EU countries and legislators will begin negotiations on the proposed Euro VII emission regulations this year, and the new emission regulations will strengthen the restriction of pollutants harmful to health, including nitrogen oxides. The EU says the benefits to people's health will far outweigh the costs. However, there are different voices within the EU on the formulation and implementation of the Euro VII. On March 13, transport ministers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia discussed changes to proposed EU vehicle emission limits. Several countries, including the Czech Republic, opposed the rule, saying it was a burden on the auto industry. An EU official said transport ministers discussed the "unrealistic" rule and the equipment for its implementation. Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka said: "Our goal is to make the conditions of Euro VII truly realistic and thus make it achievable. He said that the participating countries had reservations about the timing of the adoption of the Euro VII standard because they believed that the implementation time was too hasty. According to the EU's proposal, Euro VII should enter into force in mid-2025, while the Czech Republic has proposed a four-year normative entry into force, as well as some technical changes to give the industry time to prepare and strengthen technical measures. Martin Kupka said: "If we really want Europe to achieve greater carbon neutrality, I think we need to introduce measures that are technically achievable. ”

It is not difficult to see that whether it is China VII or Euro VII., there are different voices on the formulation and implementation time of standards, the fundamental point is that the formulation and implementation of stricter emission standards will have a huge impact on the automotive industry, especially the automotive engine industry, and the time of formulation and implementation is also a common concern, because it will directly affect the technology research and development cycle of related enterprises, which has been reflected in the implementation process of China VI.

How significant is the implementation of the National VII


Song Jian, a professor at Tsinghua University, pointed out in an interview with China Automotive News that the upgrade of emission standards for vehicles in use is more realistic than the formulation of new emission standards. "China VI is already the strictest emission standard in the world, and we can't do much in terms of harmful gas emissions from automobiles, and from this point of view, it makes little sense to study and formulate stricter China VII emission standards." At the same time, there are more than 300 million cars in use in China, many of which are still National III and National IV vehicles, or even do not meet the standards at all, and strengthening the upgrade of emission standards for these vehicles is of more practical significance for controlling motor vehicle emissions. Song Jian also stressed that from the perspective of existing technological development, further reducing emissions will inevitably increase fuel consumption, which is contrary to the realization of the "dual carbon" goal, so the scientific nature of researching and formulating stricter National VII emission standards needs to be explored. More importantly, because China has obvious shortcomings in the electronic control system of the internal combustion engine, including the electronic control system supporting the National VI engine now all rely on imports, if a stricter National VII emission standard is introduced, China's shortcomings in the electronic control system will be more obvious, and it will inevitably be "stuck in the neck", and even it is very likely that there will be problems such as insufficient supply, affecting the normal operation of China's automobile industry.

According to Yao Chunde, a professor at the State Key Laboratory of Internal Combustion Engine Combustion at Tianjin University, it is of certain practical significance to start research and formulate China VII emission standards, but how the National VII emission standards should be formulated, which gases or particulate matter emissions should be restricted, and the implementation time of the China VII emission standards need systematic scientific demonstration. "The continuous tightening of emission regulations has indeed brought great improvements to the environment." Yao Chunde stressed that China has taken a rapid step in upgrading emission standards, and the time taken from China II to China VI is much shorter than that of countries and regions such as Europe and the United States. Although the implementation of emission standards has indeed played a role in promoting technological progress, in fact, from the implementation of China VI standards, in terms of motor vehicle emissions, without the help of electrification, the space for automobile engine improvement is already very small.

"China's new energy vehicles have developed very well, both in the market and in terms of technology and other aspects have achieved good results, and new energy vehicles have natural advantages in emissions, especially pure electric vehicles, which are zero emissions." We can use the way to increase the market promotion of new energy vehicles to reduce the total emissions of automobiles, there is no need to implement stricter emission standards, after all, there is very little room for improvement in this regard. Yao Chunde also said that compared with the formulation and implementation of stricter emission standards, vigorously promoting the marketing of clean models such as methanol and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is more conducive to controlling pollutant emissions from vehicles. Taking methanol vehicles as an example, not only their emissions have less pollution to the air, but also methanol can be synthesized with carbon dioxide, "turning waste (emissions) into fuel" to achieve real sustainable development, which is more realistic for the realization of the "dual carbon" goal.

Originally published on China Automotive News on March 30, 2023