Motorcycles to become more environmentally friendly

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Eamonn Townsend

Motorcycles to become more environmentally friendly

Postby Eamonn Townsend » Fri Apr 26, 2002 12:00 am

By 2006, exhaust emissions from new motorcycles will be the same as for cars. This is the main objective of the new European legislation seeking to reduce motorcycle emissions over the next four years. FEMA will be part of the Working Group which aims at developing the technical details in connection with the new legislation.

The objective of the new EU-legislation will be achieved in two steps. The first one reducing of 60% the Carbon monoxide (CO) and Hydrocarbons (HC) emissions of new four-stroke bikes produced from 1st April 2003. The second one, entering into force on 1st January 2006, will apply a further 50% reduction compared to the 2003 limits. 2-stroke engines will see their emissions output reduce by 30% for CO and 70% for HC. Motorcycles have a quite low level of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and limits will remain the same for 2003 giving the time for the Industry to achieve more drastic NOx measures for 2006.

The technical requirements set for new bikes produced from 2006 can be achieved quite easily with current technologies, such as fuel injection systems and catalysers. To give an example, the 1000cc Suzuki V-Strom produced in 2002, equipped with a regulated catalyser, oxygen sensor and fuel injection, complies with 2003 emissions limits and is very close to the 2006 ones. In terms of costs, the price of this bike is about the same as its competition (Triumph Tiger, Honda Varadero, BMW R1150GS, Aprilia CapoNord, Yamaha TDM900. (Source: Motorrad - March 2002).

In parallel with the implementation of these new emissions requirements, a new dedicated test cycle for motorcycles will be introduced. The World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC), as it is officially called, will have its own emission limits but these will be set in correlation with the ones presently set in the legislation, to ensure a similar environmental performance. The new test will for a period run in parallel with the present modified car test cycle, giving temporarily the manufacturers a choice between two type-approval procedures.

In use conformity checks and durability requirements will also be introduced from 2006, to control the conformity of original emission output of vehicles under normal conditions of use, and to guarantee the environmental performance during the first 30.000 km traveled. FEMA will participate in a working group set up by the European Commission to investigate the practical implementation of these measures, and will make sure that riders will not bear the costs of such measures. The European Union will at a later stage introduce requirements for the measurement of Carbon dioxide (CO2), motorcycles will be included in this strategy.

Fiscal measures have been agreed to encourage the fitting of devices making older bikes "cleaner" and new ones pre-complying with the emission limits set for 2006. However, Member States can still include a "pollutant factor" in their national road traffic taxes and penalise older vehicles. FEMA member organisations will continue to promote the real benefits of Powered Two-Wheelers for urban mobility, and try to avoid discriminatory measures being introduced in their countries.

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