Skip to content Skip to footer

IE2 electric motors and variable speed drives, a year on…Beama opinion

Electrical Review Logo

Electric motors sold in the European Community are subject to compliance with certain efficiency requirements and design stipulations in accordance with the Ecodesign Requirements for Electric Motors RegulationEC 640/2009 as amended by EC 4/2014.


Without any negative effects on the market or end-users, the Regulation aims to reduce the energy consumption and the environmental impact of motors throughout the entire life-cycle of the product in the application of new cost-effective and eco-friendly technologies, reducing the total combined cost of purchase and operation.
The Regulation encourages consumer uptake of more efficient models of motors and aims to gradually phase out inefficient products,effectively banning them from the market by raising required efficiency standards in stages of implementation.

1 January 2015 saw the implementation of the stage of the Regulation which stipulates from 1 January 2015 motors within the scope of the Regulation with a rated output of 7.5-375 kW placed on the market must either meet the IE3 energy efficiency level or if meetingIE2efficiency levels be equipped with a variable speed drive(VSD).

All Ecodesign requirements have to be met when the motor is placed on the market –which is defined as “making a product available for the first time on the Community Market with a view to its distribution or use within the Community, whether for reward or free of charge and irrespective of the selling technique.” Beama has clarified with the National Measurement and RegulationOffice(NMRO), UK’s enforcement agency that a motor placed on the market prior to 1 January 2015 only needs to meet the IE2 efficiency level and is not required to be accompanied by labelling or instructions stipulating the use of a VSD. Only IE2 motors in the scope of the Regulation that are placed on the market after 1 January 2015 are required to have visibly displayed on the rating plate and technical documentation information relating to the use of a VSD.

The Regulations do not define the term ‘equipped with’. NMRO‘s interpretation based on the most up to date information, is that ‘equipped with’ relates to putting into service. ‘Putting into service’ is defined as “the first use of a product for its intended purpose by an end-user in the Community.”

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

The NMRO has an annual programme to test (i.e. validate the information supplied by manufacturers) different types of products based on risk and intelligence. This annual programme is agreed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The NMRO bases its decision on whether a product is technically compliant or not with a specific Delegated Act through testing in external accredited test facilities (those which have been assessed and certified against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate competence, impartiality and performance capability). Products are tested to the requirements of the Delegated Act and measurement(s) of relevant product parameters are performed through reliable, accurate and reproducible measurement procedures, which take into account recognised state of the art measurement methods including, where available, harmonised standards adopted by the European standardisation bodies. If non-compliance is detected the legislation provides for a range of civil sanctions that can be applied.

Civil sanctions allow for discretionary, proportionate and cost effective courses of enforcement action to be taken and include preventative or remedial action as deemed appropriate. In applying sanctions NMRO aims to:
• change the behaviour of the offender

• eliminate any financial gain or benefit from non-compliance

• consider what is appropriate for the particular offender and the regulatory issue

• be proportionate to the nature of the offence and the harm caused

• restore the harm caused by the regulatory non-compliance, where appropriate

• deter future non-compliance.

Due to the commercial sensitivity of the work that the NMRO undertakes, the lists of products tested is not made publicly available. However, if the offence has had significant impact on consumers or the market and it is proportionate to do so NMRO will publish summaries of investigations on the website.    

Members of Beama Rotating Electrical Machines Group report so far the 2015 stage of the Regulation has not resulted in the anticipated large increase in the uptake of IE3 Motors in the UK. Predominantly customers continue to purchase IE2 motors which now carry the required information relating to the use of a VSD however it is unclear if these motors are being put into service with a VSD.This situation is echoed elsewhere in the EU market in countries such as Germany, Finland and France.

The next stage of the Regulation takes effect on 1 January 2017.This is similar to the 2015 stage but will apply to motors with a rated output of 0.75-375 kW i.e. motors within the scope of the Regulation with a rated output of 0.75-375 kW placed on the market must either meet the IE3 energy efficiency level or if meeting IE2 efficiency levels be equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD). 

You may also like

Stay In The Know

Get the Electrical Review Newsletter direct to your inbox, and don't miss a thing.