Euro 7 is coming: But when?

There’s nothing in writing yet and the EU hasn’t even discussed it, but Cummins is already investing ready for expected changes around 2025

Euro 7 is coming, but the message to operators from Cummins is ‘don’t worry, we are already working on it and we will be ready’.

With the introduction of Euro 6 still ongoing, why Euro 7? And, importantly, what are the timescales and what might it look like?

Cummins concept for its close-coupled integrated system

At the moment, Euro 7 is little more than ‘chatter’ in Europe. There’s no formal proposal but much lobbying. Behind it is the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal and realisation that real-world testing and monitoring is the only way for ‘cheating’ to stop.

This ignores the fact that ‘dieselgate’ was a VW car issue, which uses a different set of Euro standards and testing, which for PCV and HGV is different and to a higher standard.

Lobbying for what is dubbed Euro 7 is coming from cities and green movements, which want cleaner air. Cummins believes it is possible to build even cleaner systems. Hence it is already working towards this goal.

Other lobbying has come from large fleet truck operators and customers, who are calling on the EU for a “very aggressive” improvement in fuel economy at Euro 7.

For the now

Euro 6 is split into a number of different requirements – mainly how the on-board diagnostics (OBD) operates – with Euro 6c coming in this year, Euro 6d in 2019/20 and then Euro 6e in 2021.

For operators this means the OBD constantly monitors every aspect of the engine and exhaust after-treatment to ensure that the system is operating correctly.

For this to happen, operators need to ensure correct maintenance, such as oil changes, cleaning of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and AdBlue quality. If not, the system will eventually put the vehicle into ‘limp home’ mode.

Suggestions are that Euro 7 might come into around 2025, by when Cummins says it is likely that a number of European cities (such as Paris, Madrid and Athens) will have moved to Ultra Low Emission Zones and/or diesel bans.

It expects the next step to be zero emission zones – for which Cummins also has a plan.

Technical solutions

To explain present thinking, Cummins arranged a press briefing at its Huddersfield plant, home of its Holset-branded turbocharger production.

Cummins Emission Solutions Executive Director Research and Engineering, Jonathan Wood set out the challenge: “Low CO2, low PM and low NOx are conflicting demands in technical terms for diesel engines.”

“We don’t know when Euro 7 might come, but it seems likely to follow Euro 6e as a new set of standards with lower emissions than Euro 6. We can’t, and won’t rest on our laurels.

“We are investing today for 2024 and are always talking with OEMs about packaging and so forth.

“This minimises costs to OEMs, which are already designing their future vehicles. We are very happy to brand products – such as a complete engine – or for them to adapt certain components, such as turbochargers.”

Supply chain

Best known as a complete engine and emission system supplier, Cummins has long made components available to other manufacturers. It makes sense in terms of scale, when R&D is so expensive for certain smaller-selling lines OEMs may find it difficult to justify expenditure in one area.

To ensure customer confidentiality, there are internal ‘walls’ between different parts of the company, for example the engine and turbocharger divisions

For Euro 7, Cummins is re-thinking the entire emission system, and how heat is handled is crucial.

To get a better result, the closer the emissions system and engine are, the better.

Depending on whether it’s a coach, bus or truck the packaging – how the equipment is physically arranged – makes a difference. Exhaust gases cool when the leave the engine, so the earlier they are treated the better.

Cummins used the event to reveal its new close-coupled integrated system with selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

It comprises a Holset fixed geometry turbocharger with an integrated rotary turbine control (RTC) and a Close Coupled Unit (CCU) with a SCR catalyst.

The integrated RTC enables exhaust gases to bypass the turbine stage and enter the CCU after the gas has been injected with urea by the new Cummins UL4 injector.

This immediate conversion enables exhaust gases to be 70°C hotter than when it reaches the SCR catalyst in traditional aftertreatment systems.

When combined with the Single Module, which reduces emissions by 97%, the integrated system has the potential to assist in meeting future lower NOx and CO2 limits, as well as providing benefits for cold start and urban driving emissions reduction.

What next?

Cummins is tight-lipped about its zero-emissions strategy, but says it will make an announcement at the IAA show in Hannover next month. Its tie-up with Johnson Matthey’s automotive battery system earlier in the year may be a clue.

Performance, heat and fuel economy are all part of the balance when it comes to improvements and operators will be pleased to hear that improved fuel economy is linked to reductions on CO2.

Cummins is launching its seventh generation variable geometry turbocharger in 2021, which is the most efficient Holset VGT™ to date.

The business also highlights the ongoing investment in R&D for 2021-2024+ legislations, which focuses on developments around pulse optimisation, air-handling valves, oil seal improvements and electrified turbochargers.