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China to implement environmental protection standard for light vehicles

– by Yu Mengjie

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) sent out a draft of the Vehicle Environmental Impact (VEI) Measurement Standard for Light Vehicles (Standard) on March 5 to solicit comments and suggestions. The Standard evaluates the environmental impact of light vehicles in the areas of emissions and noise pollution. It is similar to the SmartWay program in the United States and the Environmental Rating for Vehicles (ERV) rating system in the U.K.

The Standard determines the calculation method of VEI for light vehicles by weighing each impact factor differently. It also includes the current VEI reference value, as well as mid- and long-term goals for a new system. For commercial vehicles, two categories, the M2 (buses with more than 9 seats including the driver seat and designed curb weight of less than 5 tons) and N1 (trucks with a designed curb weight of less than 3.5 tons) are covered by the Standard. According to the draft, three pollutants will be measured: standard emissions, CO2 emissions, and noise pollution, which account for 40, 40 and 10 percent of VEI rates respectively.

Pollutants from emissions acount for 50 percent in VEI ratings.

Fang Maodong, one of the Standard‘s crafters, said the rating criterion should not result in extra tests for manufacturers. The VEI level can be determined via the weighing standard, based on the vehicle models’ existing verified data. Government authorities recognize the Standard as a quantified method of evaluating the environmental impact of vehicles.

Meanwhile, some manufacturers believe the rating formula should be based primarily on experimental data. They pointed out that the current weighting system could be too subjective. According to them, experiments should be carried out to determine each pollutant’s specific influence on the macro environment. The results could then potentially focus automakers’ attention on a particular pollutant, and thus guide their R&D into that arena.

As announced, the Standard will only serve as a reference for evaluating the environmental impact of each light vehicle product. There have been no policies regulating the rewards or punishments for OEMs that will be rated. But an insider revealed that related government authorities are planning certain follow-up regulations. Manufacturers, for one, suggest that vehicle models less detrimental to the environment should receive subsidies from the government.

Rewritten by Toni Li based on author’s article in Commercial Vehicle News




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