The strict emission standard could mean the end for many small cars: According to Skoda boss Zellmer, the current Fabia is also on the brink
New vehicles driving on Europe’s roads should be cleaner in the future. In November 2022, the EU Commission presented a proposal for cars, vans, trucks and buses – the Euro 7 standard. This regulates not only the emissions from the tailpipe, but also the particles from brakes and tires, which are the largest sources of emissions in electric vehicles.
The new Euro 7 standard is expected to come into force for passenger cars as early as 2025. The Commission estimates the additional costs per car at 90 to 150 euros per vehicle, i.e. far less than 1 percent of the average vehicle price in the EU, while the social benefit is said to be five times higher.
But the industry sees it differently and expects far higher costs. These could lead to popular models disappearing from the market. In particular, the micro and small car segments would be affected. The end of the Audi A1 and the Ford Fiesta is already official. In an interview with the magazine ‘auto motor und sport’ (edition 7/2023), Skoda boss Klaus Zellmer has now made a clear announcement: When Euro 7 comes, the Skoda Fabia (buy Skoda Fabia used cars now) will be discontinued.
Zellmer said literally to the “ams”: “As things stand today, yes. Just take the fine dust emissions from the brakes. In order to comply with the target limit values, we would need a brake system that has not yet been developed. And there are many more further examples.” Zellmer continues: “If Euro 7 is implemented as currently planned, it will require massive investments, which we will then lack for the transformation to e-mobility.”
After the Octavia, the Fabia is one of the best-selling Skoda models. In 2021, the latest generation appeared on the same platform as the VW Polo. According to “auto motor und sport”, the announcement by the Skoda boss that the Fabia will be withdrawn from the market because of Euro 7 could indicate that the Polo will also be discontinued because retrofitting new exhaust technology is too expensive.
VW boss Thomas Schäfer had estimated the additional costs at around 5,000 euros, which would increase the price for the basic version of the Polo to at least 25,000 euros. At this price, however, the Polo is no longer considered competitive on the market. The regular end of the Polo VI is 2024. So far, however, VW has not made any final statements about the future of the series that has existed since 1975.
VW is planning an electric car below the ID.3, the design of which will be presented shortly. From this vehicle there should also be offshoots from Cupra and Skoda. Ergo, the Polo and the Fabia (whose cycle could run until 2027) would not have direct successors. “It remains the case that the material and production costs of electric vehicles are significantly higher than those of combustion engines,” said Skoda boss Zellmer in an interview with “auto motor und sport”.
“It may be that this will tip over in the second half of the decade, because at the same time the combustion engines will become more expensive due to the emission requirements.” According to Zellmer, electric cars also offer fewer economies of scale and therefore remain more expensive than combustion engines. The variety of models will also decrease. “The further we go in the direction of battery-electric vehicles, the more the number of variants will be reduced. You can already see that today if you compare the number of variants of the Octavia and the Enyaq.”
Hyundai, on the other hand, will stick with models like the i10 and i20. In an interview with the British “Autocar”, Michael Cole, the brand’s European Director, confirmed new generations. These will be successively electrified, and purely electric versions can be expected by 2030. Renault, in turn, will bring the new electric version of the Renault 5 in 2024. Whether this will only replace the Zoe or the Clio in the long term is still open. The Twingo will definitely not get a successor when the Smart cooperation ends.
Good for Dacia: According to brand boss Denis Le Vot, the Sandero will remain in the program until around 2028/29. Of course with constant optimization, we expect a possible successor then electric. A clever solution: A completely new combustion engine Sandero would be more expensive at Euro 7, which would be counterproductive given the sharply calculated Dacia prices. And by the end of the decade, an electric platform should have become cheap enough.
By 2035, the Euro 7 regulations will reduce NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions from cars and vans by 35 percent compared to Euro 6 and from buses and trucks by 56 percent compared to Euro VI. At the same time, particulate emissions from the tailpipe are reduced by 13 percent for cars and vans and 39 percent for buses and trucks, while particulate emissions from a car’s brakes are reduced by 27 percent