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 the 1990s, followed by China in 2002, and since 2009 in the EU. 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 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‚Äôs roads, and reducing CO2 emissions by 56 million tonnes.              

What is the EUROPEAN UNION doing?

In 2013, a review of this regulation started, aiming at setting new energy efficiency requirements but also at covering more types of motors. A first legislative proposal was discussed in 2014 but was stalled for years. Finally, in early 2019, the European institutions agreed on a revision which will enter into force in 2021 and is expected to trigger 10 TWh per year electricity savings by 2030.

What does the Coolproducts campaign want?

  • More challenging energy efficiency requirements for most motors (IE4) and their Variable Speed Drives;

  • Measures to support the identification and reuse of rare earth permanent magnet motors.

 Coolproducts technical input and position papers:

2018 – Electric motors and variable speed drives: Recommendations on the final Ecodesign proposal

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


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With the support of thr European Union (LIFE Programme and European COmmission). This work reflects the author's views and does not commit donors.