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Frequently asked questions


What are scrapping schemes?

In its response to the economic crisis the European Commission has presented in November 2008 the European Economic Recovery Plan, which was subsequently endorsed by the European Council in December 2008. This plan includes a number of measures designed for the automotive sector, including demand-side measures which aim at boosting the demand for new vehicles and assisting with the scrapping of older ones. Several Member States have introduced so-called "scrapping schemes". These schemes allow for a financial benefit for scrapping an old vehicle provided that newer vehicle is acquired. For more information, please see "Guidance on scrapping schemes for vehicles pdf - 74 KB [74 KB] " and the Final Report of the study "Assessment of the Effectiveness of Scrapping Schemes for Vehicles (March 2010) pdf - 2 MB [2 MB] ".

What is meant by the terms "total harmonisation" and "optional harmonisation"?

"Total harmonisation" means the approval system for a product (vehicle, headlamp, etc.) which requires that the product complies with all the technical requirements specified on a mandatory basis (in the framework directive or regulation). This means that the product can be marketed everywhere in the EU without further tests and checks after the approval in one Member State.

Example: this is the case for passenger cars, motor cycles and certain agricultural tractors (T1, T2 and T3).

"Optional harmonisation" means the approval system for a product (vehicle, headlamp, etc.) where all the requirements have been specified in EC law, but they are not made mandatory. The manufacturer has the choice to ask for such optional EC type-approval and can then market the product everywhere in EU without further tests and checks after the approval in one Member State, or he can ask for national approvals in the Member States of his choice. Optional harmonisation is often an interim phase, before total harmonisation is achieved, because some of the needed technical specifications ('separate directives') are not available yet.

Example: many aspects of special tractors (T4) and fast tractors (T5), like masses, fuel tanks, passenger seats and lighting. For some other aspects the separate directives are not ready, so EC whole vehicle type-approval is not possible.

What is the European Green Car Initiative?

The European Green Car Initiative aims to facilitate research on a broad range of technologies to achieve a breakthrough in the use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources for road transport. The European Investment Bank would provide cost-based loans to car producers and suppliers to finance research and innovation, in particular in technologies improving the safety and the environmental performance of cars, such as electric vehicles.

What is the difference between Euro 5/6 and Euro VI?

Euro 5 and Euro 6 are emission limits standards for cars and light commercial vehicles with respect to a number of pollutants, especially nitrogen oxides and particulate pollutants, whereas Euro VI is an emission limits standard for heavy duty vehicles (buses and trucks).

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