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How To Find The Euro Level Of A Truck

How To Find The Euro Level Of A Truck

Working out which Euro level you will need for your truck is quite easy once you know the basics.

The Truck Euro Emissions Standards Explained

Faced with the effects of global warming, it is right that Europe should be leading the way in controlling emissions from our vehicles. The downside is the complexity, and the swings to the new and used vehicle markets prior to the introduction of emissions control technology.

Faced with the effects of global warming, it is right that Europe should be leading the way in controlling emissions from our vehicles. The downside is the complexity, and the swings to the new and used vehicle markets prior to the introduction of emissions control technology.

euro levelsStarting back in 1993 with Euro 1, the European powers agreed a roadmap to get the trucks and buses on our roads as clean as they can be, in terms of the pollutants, such as carbon, NOx, Hydrocarbons and particulates. Some 20 years later, this has finally been achieved. It is worth noting that the Euro standards do not affect the CO2 emissions – in fact they may have hindered these reductions. CO2 can only be reduced by making an engine more efficient – in other words better MPG.

So when you are looking to buy a used truck, how can you tell which Euro standard it is at?

You would think that it would be printed loud and clear on the logbook, (V5), alongside the weight and body type. That would be too easy – and probably require some work at the DVLA, for which there was no budget. For later Euro versions – four and above – many truck manufacturers kindly put a badge on the truck which would tell you at a glance if you were looking at a Euro 4 or 5. Sadly, however this is not always the case. There is a simple internet look up facility belonging to TfL that will tell you whether a truck is compliant with their needs for the London Low Emission zone, but this won’t help if you want to know if your truck is a Euro 2 or 3, or if it is a 4 or 5.

Euro 6 Did You Know?
Not only is there a cost penalty to buying a Euro 6 truck, there is also a payload penalty, thanks to the additional ‘chemical plant’ surrounding the exhaust and the additional cooling needs. This extra weight will roughly add up to 200kgs for a tractor unit (in the case of a MAN TGL or TGX) and about 150kgs for a rigid up to 18 tonnes.

Derogation

Derogation is a scheme that allows existing vehicles that don’t meet incoming legislation to be registered after the legislation comes into force. This is carefully controlled and is only available under certain pre-defined rules and for a limited time period. Although Euro 6 becomes mandatory for new trucks registered for the first time from 31st December 2013, derogation means it will still be possible to register Euro 5 trucks for up to one year after that date as long as the vehicle meets all other legislative requirements applicable at the time of first registration. This means that any vehicles manufactured during October, November or December 2013 must be registered before 31st December 2013. Derogation means that the table below is a guide only – you MUST confirm the level of any truck you are hoping to buy – an older one may have had a conversion to comply with the LEZ, or it may have been a truck manufactured much earlier than the date registered.

Quick Guide to Euro Levels

 Euro Level Year Reg Codes within Euro Level
Euro 0 1989 Oct F, G
Euro 1 1993 Oct K, L, M, N some P
Euro 2 1996 Oct Some P, R, S, T, V, W, some X
Euro 3 2000 Oct Some X, Y, 51, 02, 52, 03, 53, 04, 54, 05, some 55
Euro 4 2006 Oct Some 56, 07, 57, 08, 58, 09 some 59
Euro 5 & EEV 2009 Oct Some 59, 10, 60, 11, 61, 12, 62, 13 some 63
Euro 6 2014 Jan Few 13, some 63, 14 onwards

Euro 6 Did You Know?
It will take five Euro 6 trucks to produce the same amount of NOx as just one Euro 5 truck. It will take three Euro 6 trucks to produce the same particulate matter as one Euro 5 truck.

London LEZ
London Low emission Zone warning sign

Brought in as an attempt to clean up London’s air quality prior to the Olympics in 2012, the zone, which covers most of London inside the M25, can be used by any truck paying a £200 daily charge – or have to meet the same standards for particulate matter (PM) as a Euro 4 truck. Any operator with an older, unmodified truck better keep away from inside the M25 or pay a few thousand pounds to have the truck modified with an aftermarket filter. If are intending to drive into London, and your truck was registered before October 2006, then, chances are, you will have to pay the £200 daily charge, get your truck adapted or buy a newer truck here at trucklocator.co.uk!

Read more about the LEZ

New to Euro 4?

Many smaller operators will still be running around in pre-Euro 4 trucks – with these trucks approaching at least ten years old, it may be time to consider a new-fangled Euro 4 or 5 truck for the first time. 

So what do you need to know about Euro 4 and 5? 

These standards were launched quite close together and, certain truck makers had an Euro 5 option available at the same time as launching Euro 4. The technology used by the manufacturers to achieve the standards was fairly similar.

Euro 4 & 5 SCR vs. EGR

These are the technologies used to clean up diesel engines to meet the Euro standards. Let’s talk in layman’s terms – SCR needs a liquid (Adblue) to make it work and EGR does not. That does not mean that EGR is necessarily a better technology, it just means that there is one less job to do for the operator. Proponents of SCR will say that the engines can be tuned to produce better fuel economy, as the SCR unit will clean up the emissions after it leaves the engine. EGR engines (in which the exhaust gases are recirculated back into the engine) is a technically more complex solution – with an impact on maintenance and potentially MPG – to make the day-to-day operation easier (no need for Adblue). The truck makers were split into two camps as far as the trucks on sale in the UK market. Famously MAN went EGR totally, right up to Euro 5 and Scania adopted EGR across the majority of their range. Latterly MAN also introduced an SCR option in their tractor unit offering.

Adblue in a can

The EGR vs. SCR battle has largely become redundant at Euro 6, as every manufacturer (with the exception of Iveco and one Scania engine) has to use both EGR and SCR in combination. Iveco’s SCR system needs not EGR to help it along – time will tell whether the company has stolen a march on the competition by making their truck simpler to make and maintain.

Where can I buy Adblue?

All other manufacturers went for the SCR option – which meant that the UK has had to develop an Adblue refuelling infrastructure – so if you are worried that you won’t be able to find it – then don’t. Adblue can be bought in bulk from chemical companies, drums from commercial vehicle dealers and cans from truckstops and petrol stations.

How much cleaner is each Euro level?

This is easiest explained with a graph – DAF have put together a very clear example.

Truck Euro 6 graph

The Y-axis shows the maximum permissible particulates in the exhaust and the X-axis shows the maximum NOx. Looking at these figures back in 1992 you would have thought the tiny levels of both emissions required for Euro 6 would be impossible to reach. The air coming out of a Euro 6 truck is, in some ways, cleaner than the air going in, when operating in polluted cities.

Euro 6 Did You Know?
Unless you order one of Scania’s special 9-litre diesel engines, don’t use biodiesel – it can increase levels of NOx and can increase deposits in the DPF by up to 50%

But what happens when it goes wrong?

It is all well and good having truck emissions technology that, we understand, can actually ‘clean up’ the air in some environments, but what happens when the technology packs up or the driver fails to attend to its needs? As you would expect, the lawmakers have thought this one through and have demanded of the truckmakers that the on-board diagnostic systems inside the vehicle force the operator to take action to keep the truck running clean. There are three levels of alarms sent to the river of the truck. Firstly a simple warning light appears on the dashboard warning of a malfunction, (or simply low Adblue levels). At this point, the driver has 36 ‘driving’ hours to fix the problem. After the 36 hours is over, the truck will give the driver a noticeable 25% less torque for as long as 64 driving hours – at which point the truck must go into ‘limp home’ mode at a maximum of 20kmh.

After a 20-year journey, and six tiers of European emissions limits, truck exhausts can now be described as near zero. The introduction of Euro 6 brings new technology and fresh choices but has also attracted a lot of criticism, so is Euro 6 a good thing or not?

Euro 6 Is A Big Deal - Facts and Figures

Euro 6 is different to its predecessors, for starters its far more stringent.

Legislators have drawn up robust tests and rules to ensure that the anticipated emissions improvements are met.Euro 6 Logo DAF LF

The particulates limit is half of Euro 5’s.Particular numbers are now measured limiting emissions from the tiniest particles most injurious to health. There is no room for slippage or deviation due to manufacturing tolerances or deterioration.

Euro 6 engines only go half way to reaching Euro 6 emission levels. The rest is down to chemistry set in the exhaust, in the after-treatment system. This stainless-steel box, the same for all manufacturers, contains several catalysts, a DPF, AdBlue injector and a multitude of sensors controlling the operation.

However, as always with new legislation, Euro 6 came under criticism early on for being heavier, more complex, thirstier and pricier. But, after taking a closer look at the research surrounding the new legislation it seems all is not as bad as first feared.

Critics claimed Euro 6 vehicles would be heavier, but the OEMs have put huge effort into shaving weight off their truck, meaning the average Euro 6 tractor unit is only a few hundred kilograms heavier than an equivalent Euro 5. Early research also claimed that Euro 6 could be up to 85 thirstier than its predecessor, but thanks to improved aerodynamics and many other fuel-saving devices, this hasn’t proved correct.

The only negative is the price. At the moment you can expect to pay £8,000 extra for a Euro 6 tractor, however you are getting slightly more truck for your money.Euro 6 Scania V8 Engine

Euro 6 Did You Know?: Not only is there a cost penalty to buying a Euro 6 truck, there is also a payload penalty, thanks to the additional ‘chemical plant’ surrounding the exhaust and the additional cooling needs. This extra weight will roughly add up to 200kgs for a tractor unit (in the case of a MAN TGL or TGX) and about 150kgs for a rigid up to 18 tonnes.

Across Europe there are a number of different incentives for early adoption of Euro 6. Some offer a subsidy towards the additional cost of Euro 6, others encourage the use of vehicles with lower emissions through lower road use charges.

In the UK the Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) is available for Euro 6 compliant vehicles first registered before the mandatory introduction on 31st December 2013. Although the Euro 6 RPC scheme differs from earlier schemes as the RPC will only be able to provide a VED discount until December 2016 for the following 12 months’ road fund license.

Euro 6 Did You Know?: It will take five Euro 6 trucks to produce the same amount of NOx as just one Euro 5 truck. It will take three Euro 6 trucks to produce the same particulate matter as one Euro 5 truck.
 

Will There Be A Truck Euro 7 Standard?

The simple answer is no.

Euro 6 truck exhausts will be so clean that most legislators agree it would not be feasible to drive them down any lower.New trucks

However, European legislators have now shifted their focus to reducing CO2 emissions, a.k.a. improving fuel efficiency. With CO2 rapidly becoming the new area of focus, the European Automobile Manufactures Association (ACEA) is looking to develop a new emission rating system that looks at the overall efficiency of a truck, taking into account the work it does along the way, rather than at tailpipe emissions alone.

Using this ‘holistic’ approach, ACEA wants to create a fuel-efficiency rating system for commercial vehicles, similar to the colour-coded A-G table used on domestic white goods. This will see emissions measured more closely linked to what a vehicle is carrying, whether that’s freight or people. Europe is also in the process of constructing CO2 targets. These will be based on computer modelling and drivetime simulation and are due to be signed off in the middle of 2014, although we are unlikely to see the reduction programme start until 2016.

Japan was the first to introduce fuel efficiency targets for trucks, in 2005. By the time these targets become enforceable in 2015, fuel consumption is predicted to be 12% better than its 2002 baseline average. The US also introduced targets which will be actionable between 2014 and 2017. Impressively it is predicted that fuel consumption could then be up to 23% better than its 2010 baseline.

Another area of consideration for European legislators is the idea of separating the two gases that constitute NOx, nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, both of which are blamed for a number of atmospheric problems.

Euro 6 Did You Know?: Don’t use biodiesel – it can increase levels of NOx and can increase deposits in the DPF by up to 50%.