Electric Motors

Electric Motors

Electric motor-driven systems are composed of different energy-using products such as motors, drives, pumps or fans. They have been identified as a major consumer of electricity in industry and commerce for many years. Within these systems, the role of electric motors is to convert electrical power into mechanical power. By doing so, motors consume the vast majority of the electricity used by the system itself. 


The efficiency of electric motors has been regulated in the United States and Canada as early as in the late 1990s, followed by China in 2002. Since 2009, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) have also been set in the EU through the Ecodesign directive. The regulation covered, until now, mid-size motors with a power range of 0.75 to 375kW.

Thanks to this regulation, the efficiency of motors to be placed on the market since 2009 has considerably increased and is expected to save 135 TWh per year by 2020, equivalent to the entire residential electricity consumption of the UK and Austria combined. This is also the equivalent to removing 27 million cars from Europe’s roads, reducing CO2 emissions by 56 million tonnes.               

What is the EU doing?

In 2013, a preparatory study started, aiming at reviewing the existing regulation but also extending its scope. On the basis of this study, the Commission drafted a legislative proposal which was discussed with the Ecodesign Consultation Forum in September 2014. The legislative process is ongoing and a final regulation could be adopted in 2016.

What does the Coolproducts campaign want?

  • The Coolproducts Campaign welcomes the Commission’s intention to extend the regulation’s scope to smaller motors, large-low-voltage motors, explosion proof and brake motors. However we believe that the large-medium-voltage motors (up to 1000 kW and up to 6600V) should also be included in this regulation.
  • The Commission also proposes to regulate, from 2018 onwards, the efficiency of Variable Speed Drives (VSD), which are equipment used to control the speed of machinery. Approximately 30% of the motors systems incorporate a VSD. We welcome this proposal, but think it should be implemented at a much more stringent level (IE3C instead of IE1)
  • The proposed regulation could also be made more ambitious, by setting stricter and/or earlier requirements on small and medium motors
  • Moreover, we would like the Commission to take a further look at the specific case of Rare Earth material used in Permanent Magnet motors. Permanent magnet these can contain rare earth elements, which have been identified as critical materials. Devices with rare earth magnets are quite hard to identify as such without having very specific technical know-how or without conducting quite intensive testing/dismantling of devices Thus, we are asking for a mandatory and standardised marking of products containing rare earth magnets above a certain minimum weight which would facilitate future recycling practices.

 Coolproducts' technical input and position papers are available below

2014 - Position on the draft EC Working Document on possible Ecodesign requirements for Special Motors and Variable Speed Drives

2013 - Technical input to tasks 4 & 5 of the Preparatory study on Electric Motors and Drives