China is Preparing for Sixth Generation Emission Standards

Currently, plug-ins account for around 25% of all NEV sales by volume and are expected to increase its share over the next few years.

June 2019 , by

According to Automotive Report Special Report on "Are Vehicle Emissions Regulations Achievable?", the standards, modeled based on the European Union, will soon be applied in China the biggest car market. China 6's emission standards will be established in the market starting from January 2020, reducing carbon monoxide from 1 kg/km to 0.7 kg/km. A further reduction in phase 6b, scheduled for January 2023, will reduce it further to 0.5 kg/km.

Imposing restrictions on automakers is just a part of a broader plan to tackle Chinese gas emissions, but it will take time to improve people's lives, according to YCP Solidiance Senior Partner Nicholas Pechet, "It's clear that emission reductions are expected to happen across the board. NOx and PM are the critical air pollutants in China coming from vehicles with reduction targets at 40% and 33% respectively."

Even though the situation in urban centers improved, from 58 days of carcinogenic PM 2.5 recorded in 2013 to just 18 in 2018 the government wants more. Cars represent a big percentage of air pollution in China, and manufactures must be ready to change their standards. "Several models from Chinese automakers, both Sino-foreign JVs and Chinese companies, are already China 6 ready," says Pechet, examples are Geely, Changan and SAIC. 

New energy vehicles (NEV)

"Currently, plug-ins account for around 25% of all NEV sales by volume and are expected to increase its share over the next few years," Pechet suggests. "Meanwhile, 48V mild hybrids are expected to reduce CO2 emissions of a vehicle by 13% to 21%. As such, fitting a China 5 vehicle with a mild hybrid system may not be enough to comply with China 6." In China, VW has announced that it will produce a fully electric vehicle by 2021. However, the government has recently decided to cut back subsidies for EV by a half - from Yuan 50,000 to 25,000, and it will fully eliminate subsidies by 2020, posing a harder challenge for automakers.

China's coal dependence remains an issue, electricity generated by coal rose 6% in 2018 reaching 4.9 trillion km/h, "China is working towards improving its energy mix, by reducing dependence on coal to 50% by 2030, and substituting today's needs with renewables. However, this is being done independently of vehicle emission regulations." Pechet explains.

Heavy-duty rules

Regulations on heavy-duty vehicles, namely China VI will apply as early as summer of this year in some Chinese regions, where VI-a will bar models not meeting the requirements from entering the market. The Government announced that it aims of at least a 90% compliance rate by the end of 2020, with more than a million outdated diesel-fuelled tracks that could be taken off the roads in the regions surrounding Beijing. The full implementation of China 6b will arrive by July 2023.

China's impact on global emissions is critical as highlighted by the International Council on Clean Transportation, "China 6 will force wider use of diesel particulate filters. This could mean that two-thirds of new trucks will be soot-free by 2021. Were China to take no action, this figure would stand at only 50%."

This article was also featured in Automotive World Special Report in June 2019. 

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