No Time to Spare – China 6 is Here, Now

No Time to Spare – China 6 is Here, Now

Mar 15, 2019

The first two articles in this series covered the background to the emissions and fuel consumption legislation being introduced in China. Here we will look at the timeline for the legislation and the tightening of limits, considering the implications for lubricant and fuel solutions.

China 6a will be introduced in July 2020 and China 6b follows in 2023 with tighter limits for key pollutants—in some cases less than half of the China 5 limits. China 6b also brings in real driving emissions (RDE) testing and emissions durability requirements. The emissions limits are accompanied by some very challenging fuel consumption legislation which also has an aggressive timeline.

For passenger cars, the particulate number (PN) limits will result widespread gasoline particulate filter (GPF) adoption. In the short term, it may be possible to meet China 6a limits without their use, but RDE measurement in 2023 is sure to force rapid GPF adoption across all types of gasoline powered cars. Additionally, local governments in some major cities are planning to press ahead with early adoption of China 6b which will increase the urgency. Stage V fuel consumption regulations for passenger cars will be introduced in 2020 and will bring an incremental reduction of the limit from 5.0 to 4.0 l/100km over five years. In total, it will mean an overall 34% fuel consumption reduction in less than a decade. Stage VI, with limits to be defined, will then follow.


Turning to commercial vehicles, the 60% reduction in both oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) limits from China V to China VI means that most new commercial vehicles will be fully equipped with sophisticated aftertreatment for both these pollutants, including diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems. Phase III commercial vehicle limits for fuel consumption will apply from mid-2019 and will require a 15% reduction compared to phase II.


Note: Accepted convention is to use Arabic numerals for passenger car legislation and Roman numerals for commercial vehicle


For both passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the imminent introduction in parallel of stringent emissions and fuel consumption limits provides a major challenge for powertrain designers. Lower viscosity lubricants for the engine and driveline can make a significant contribution to fuel economy, but the designer needs to ensure that there are no compromises to the durability of the vehicle. Tighter precision in fuel system hardware is required to meet these more stringent emissions and fuel efficiency requirements. This can increase sensitivity to disruptive impacts on fuel flow and combustion, such as deposits or undesirable fuel behaviors. This drives an urgent need for improved fuel quality and high-performance fuel additives.

China 6 brings in long-term emissions durability requirements which make it more important than ever to maintain all the hardware (engine, driveline and exhaust aftertreatment) in optimum condition for sustainable efficient and low emission operation.

It is vital to “design in” the right fluids to get the maximum benefit and minimize the risks of non-compliance, whilst ensuring the hardware is protected. That means taking action now. Fortunately, solutions are available. Fuel and lubricant industry experts can ensure that they are appropriate for the combination of hardware and operating environment. The message is clear: act now to ensure China 6 compliance.

If you would like additional information on China 6, please visit the China 6 section, or contact your Lubrizol representative.

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