25 Jul 2024


EU regs have not produced surge in IE3 motor sales

No sales boost for IE3 motors

Europe’s electric motor efficiency regulations that came into force at the start of 2015 have not resulted in the expected boost to sales of high-efficiency IE3 motors. Under the Ecodesign regulations, common types of motor with ratings from 7.5–375kW placed on the market since 1 January 2015 must either meet the IE3 efficiency level, or meet the lower IE2 level and be fitted with a VSD (variable-speed drive).

But according to members of the Rotating Electric Machines Group of the UK’s electrotechnical trade body, Beama, the regulations have not resulted in the expected increase in sales of IE3 motors.

Most motor buyers are still purchasing less expensive IE2 motors which must now carry labels saying that they should be used with VSDs. But Beama says “it is unclear if these motors are being put into service with a VSD”, adding that “this situation is being echoed elsewhere in the EU in countries such as Germany, Finland and France”.

One problem is that IE2 motors that were “placed on the market” before the end of 2014 do not need to carry any labels or instructions stipulating that they must be used with a VSD. Those placed on the market after 1 January 2015 have to display information on the need to use them with a VSD, both on their rating plates and in their technical documentation.

Another problem concerns the interpretation of the regulations’ stipulation that IE2 motors must “equipped with” a VSD. Beama has clarified this with the UK’s national enforcement agency, the National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO), which relates “equipped with” to “putting into service”, which it defines as “the first use of a product for its intended purpose by an end-user in the Community”.

According to Beama, it is therefore the responsibility of the end-user to ensure that IE2 motors that stipulate the use of a VSD are, in fact, installed with a VSD. If this is not practical, then an IE3 motor should be installed, instead. Failure to do so would be a breach of the regulations.

Beama says it is not aware of any enforcement of the IE2+VSD requirement in the UK since it came into force at the start of 2015. However, before 2015, the NMRO carried out market surveillance to check on the authenticity of motors claiming IE2 efficiencies.

In the next phase of the Ecodesign regulations, which comes into force at the start of 2017, the ratings of motors covered will be extended down to 750W. The option of either buying an IE3 motor or using an IE2 machine with a VSD will remain but, from 2018, the European Commission wants to eliminate the IE2+VSD option, thus saving an estimated 2.7TWh per year across the EU by 2030.