In 2018, China finalized China VI standards that will apply to new heavy-duty diesel vehicles nationwide in two stages. The first stage, China VI-a, is largely equivalent to Euro VI and applied to gas engines in July 2019, urban HDVs in July 2020, and all new HDVs in July 2021. The second stage, China VI-b, adds requirements such as anti-tampering monitoring and remote on-board diagnostics data reporting that are expected to enhance real-world emissions compliance. China VI-b will apply to gas engines nationwide starting in January 2021 and all new HDVs in July 2023.
Conventional pollutant emission limits
Nationwide: Ministry of Ecology and Environment
Regional and Local: Environmental Protection Bureaus
Heavy-duty vehicles over 3,500 kg, equipped with compression ignition engines or positive ignition natural gas (NG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engines.
Emission standards for new heavy-duty truck and bus engines in China follow the European precedent, known as China I, II, III, etc. China has historically implemented equivalent Euro emission standards approximately 7-8 years after Europe.
The following table presents implementation dates for emission standards for heavy-duty diesel and gasoline vehicles in China.
(all sales and registrations)
|China I||GB 17691-2001||1 Sep 2000||1 Sep 2001|
|China II||1 Sep 2003||1 Sep 2004|
|China III||GB 17691-2005||1 Jan 2007||1 Jan 2008a|
|China IV||1 Jul 2010b||1 Jul 2013c|
|China V||1 Jan 2016d
1 Jul 2016
|1 Jan 2017d
1 Jul 2017
|China IV-a||GB 17691-2018||N.A.||1 Jul 2019e
1 Jul 2020d
1 Jul 2021
|China VI-b||N.A.||1 Jan 2021e
1 Jul 2023
|China I||GB 14762-2002||1 Mar 2003||1 Jul 2003|
|China II||1 Sep 2003||1 Sep 2004|
|China III||GB 14762-2008||1 Jul 2009||1 Jul 2010|
|China IV||1 Jul 2012||1 Jul 2013|
|a Existing stock permitted to be sold until 30 Jun 2008.
b In December 2011, MEP announced that China III type approvals would be permitted again until 30 Jun 2013.
c This date represents a 30-month delay from the original intended implementation date of 1 Jan 2011. The date was first extended by one year in December 2010, then again by an additional 18 months in December 2011.
d For public bus, sanitation and postal trucks, and other civil vehicle fleets.
e For gas-fueled HDVs.
Sub-national regions and cities in China are permitted to implement vehicle emission standards in advance of the nationwide implementation dates, under two conditions. First, the standard must have already been adopted and issued by the national government. Second, China’s State Council, the highest executive body, must grant approval. Beijing has historically led in the advanced implementation of vehicle emission standards, followed by Shanghai, Guangzhou, and some other major cities. The following table summarizes the advanced implementation of HDV emission standards in sub-national regions of China:
|Stage||Beijing||Shanghai||Guangzhou and others|
|China I||1 Jan 1999||1 Jul 1999||n/a|
|China II||1 Jan 2003||1 Mar 2003||1 Jul 2005|
|China III||31 Dec 2005||HDV: phased-in over 2007||1 Sep 2006|
|China IV||1 Jul 2008||1 Nov 2009||1 June 2010 (GZ + 9 cities in Guangdong Province)|
|China V||1 Feb 2013
1 Jun 2015 for new HDV salesa
|1 May 2014||31 Dec 2015 (GZ + 9 cities in Guangdong Province)
30 June 2016 Guangdong Province
1 Apr 2016 in 11 eastern provincesb for public bus, sanitation and postal trucks, and other civil vehicle fleets
|China VI||1 Jan 2020 (China VI-b)||n/a||n/a|
|a Starting from 1 Jan 2016, DPFs will also be required on new sales of public HDVs (buses, sanitation, postal, tour coaches, shuttles etc)
b These 11 eastern provinces are Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Guangdong and Hainan.
Supplemental Testing Requirement
In January 2014, MEP issued a supplemental standard requiring China IV and V diesel engines for urban buses and service vehicles to be tested over the World Harmonized Transient Cycle. The supplemental standard is intended to prevent excess NOX emissions from China IV and V-certified vehicles.
In 2013, the Beijing EPB released two new supplemental standards (DB11/964-2013 and DB11/965-2013) for China IV and V heavy-duty vehicles to prevent excess urban NOx emissions. DB11/965-2013 was updated in 2017.
In 2017, MEE issued a supplemental standard for HDVs under China V to address the excess NOX emissions problem. The regulation is supplemental to all existing requirements under the China V standard, and requires additional on-road portable emission measurement system (PEMS) testing for new and in-use China V HDVs.
Key improvements of the China VI HDV emission standard are:
- Reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emission limits by around 70% from the China V standard;
- The introduction of particulate number (PN) limits;
- A shift from the European Steady-state Cycle (ESC) and European Transient Cycle (ETC) to the more representative and dynamic World Harmonized Stationary Cycle (WHSC) and World Harmonized Transient Cycle (WHTC);
- Inclusion of new World Harmonized Not-to-Exceed (WNTE) test;
- Extended durability requirements;
- Adoption of full vehicle Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS) testing and requirements based on the European PEMS regulation, with modifications that address China-specific driving conditions for type tests, new production and in-service conformity testing;
- Improved on-board diagnostic (OBD) system and anti-tampering provisions based on U.S. OBD requirements;
- A requirement for vehicles to be equipped with a remote emission monitoring on-board terminal (remote OBD), the first regulation of its kind worldwide;
- A multi-component compliance program involving agency- and manufacturer-run emission tests during pre-production, production, and in-use stages;
- China’s first emission warranty program for HDVs, in which manufacturers are required to guarantee emission control components for a minimum distance travelled or service time.
- The final rule indicates that future possible requirements on CO2 emissions from HDVs may be implemented.
Emission limits for China III-VI are shown below.
|China VI||WHSC (compression ignition engine)||1.5||0.13||–||–||0.4||0.1||–||8*1011|
|WHTC (compression ignition engine)||4.0||0.16||–||–||0.46||0.1||–||6*1011|
|WHTC (spark ignition engine)||4.0||–||0.16||0.5||0.46||0.1||–||6*1011|
|a Natural gas engines only|
|b For engines with a per cylinder displacement of 3000 rpm|
|Note: At the China I/II stage (not shown in this table), the test cycle was ECE R-49, or the Chinese 9-mode.|
NH3 slip limits began to be enforced under China V, when the NH3 slip limit was 25 ppm (peak) and 10 ppm (cycle average). For China VI, the NH3 slip limit is 10 ppm (cycle average). In addition to the more realistic test cycles and stringent emission limits, the China VI standard also introduces additional off-cycle test requirements, including the World Harmonized Not-to-Exceed (WNTE) test and a full-vehicle PEMS test. The test requirements and emission limits of the WNTE test in China VI are equivalent to the Euro VI standard.
|Test||CO (mg/kWh)||THC (mg/kWh)||NOX (mg/kWh)||PM (mg/kWh)|
PEMS Testing Requirements
China VI introduced PEMS testing for type tests, new production tests, and in-service conformity tests. The China VI PEMS testing requirements and emission limits primarily follow the Euro VI PEMS standard, with a few enhancements and modifications for the Chinese context. For data evaluation, the work-based window method is applied. A vehicle is considered adequate only if 90% or more valid windows meet emission limits. The provision also includes an innovative transient NOx concentration limit of 500 ppm, and requires that at least 95% of data points obtained from the PEMS testing not exceed this limit.
|Vehicle category||Useful lifea|
|Distance traveled (km)||Service time (years)|
|M1, N1, M2||200,000||5|
|N2, N3 (GVW≤18 ton)
M3 Class I, Class II, Class A
M3 Class B (GVW≤7.5 ton)
|N3 (GVW>18 tons)
M3 Class III
M3 Class B (GVW>7.5 tons)
|a Distance traveled or service time, whichever is sooner|
|No limit for China VI-a
1.2×1012/kWh for China VI-b (CF=2.0)
Durability requirements and emission warranties
A vehicle’s useful life in the China VI HDV standard is identical to that of Euro VI. Improved from China V, longer distance durability is now required for all vehicle categories, while service time requirements remain the same.
Starting with China VI, manufacturers are required to guarantee a number of emissions-control components in their new vehicles for a minimum distance or time. If the emissions control equipment and/or related components malfunction during the warranty period, the manufacturer is responsible for repair.
|Vehicle Category||Minimum warranty perioda|
|Distance Traveled (km)||Service time (years)|
|M1, M2, N1||80,000||5|
|M3, N2, N3||160,000||5|
|a Distance traveled or service time, whichever is sooner|
The China VI regulation also requires a number of agency- and manufacturer-run regulatory tests that apply to vehicle prototypes and throughout a vehicle’s useful life.
Manufacturer-performed tests mandated by the China VI standards include four stages of testing: type test, conformity of production test, new vehicle test, and in-use conformity test. For all four manufacturer-run tests, the regulatory agency has the authority to conduct verification tests. For non-compliant vehicles, the manufacturer is required to submit a corrective action plan to the agency and subsequently implement the action plan after approval.