Low Emission Zones (ZBE) are already a reality in Spain. No less than 149 locations and some 25 million users are affected by this measure. From January 1, 2023 the
municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants they must implement an LEZ. This measure also affects island territories and those with a population of more than 20,000 people if they exceed the limit values for regulated pollutants.
In this way, it is
restrict entry to the urban core of those cars that pollute the most to reduce pollution. In other words, areas where only drivers of vehicles with the 0 emissions label of the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) -100% electric- and drivers of vehicles with the Eco label -hybrids-, who They will have limited parking time.
But each city council has the power to determine the restrictions in these LEZs, following its own technical sustainability criteria and as long as they are framed within the general regulations proposed in the Climate Change Law. Therefore, only cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Pontevedra and Zaragoza already have their LEZs in force and issue sanctions -in Madrid, for example, 200 euros-. However, and according to the National Business Association of Rental Vehicles (Aneval), around 20 of the obligated municipalities – around 13 percent – have started presenting their measures. Among them are Cuenca, Toledo and Palma de Mallorca. Other municipalities such as Murcia, the Basque Country or Estremadura do not plan, for the moment, to apply ZBE in their streets.
And since acquiring a new electric or plug-in hybrid car to ‘get around’ these limitations currently means a very high cost for the majority of the population, a real alternative is to ‘tune up’ the engine of a car to make it more ecological and one that can display the DGT 0 emissions and Eco labels.
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or Autogas has become a ‘clean’ alternative to gasoline and diesel. With these last fuels, through a simple conversion, it is possible to obtain the DGT Eco label. First of all, it should be known that not any vehicle can be converted to gas and display said sticker. “The Ministry limits this transformation to gasoline models that comply with the Euro 4 standard and that are registered from the year 2006, and Euro 6 diesel, registered from the years 2016-2017”, points out Javier Navarro, president of Astrave. , Association of Vehicle Transformers.
«The transformation -a LPG ‘kit’ is installed: tank, gas injectors and nozzle- must be carried out in a specialized and duly approved workshop in this type of conversions so that the client can ensure that all the standards of quality and safety that a transformed vehicle must have when it comes to passing the ITV”, explains Navarro. In addition, they will be the ones that offer a two-year or 100,000-kilometer warranty for both labor and equipment.
Subsequently, both the workshop itself and the client can pass the ITV for its approval, in which “three certificates will be needed: the workshop, as the transformation has been carried out correctly; a tightness certificate, where the workshop takes responsibility and certifies that the circuit is tight and does not have any leaks; and the one issued by a laboratory approved by the Ministry », he adds.
Therefore, in the technical sheet that they deliver at the end of the ITV it will already be a vehicle officially powered by Autogas. These data are already crossed with the DGT, and the Eco label can now be requested at any office of the organization, Post Office and agency with a price of 5 euros. The transformation has a higher cost. “The price for a four-cylinder gasoline model with indirect injection, including taxes and approval, is around 1,500 euros – with a maximum price of up to 2,300 euros in the case of larger engines such as 6 and 8-cylinder engines. In the case of diesel, the range is higher, between 1,900 and 2,500 euros, since the management and development of this type of engine are more difficult”, points out Navarro, while concluding that “in a gasoline model, in 20,000 kilometers has already amortized the investment since this conversion leads to savings of up to 40% in fuel”.
The transformation of a combustion vehicle into an electric one, also called a ‘retrofit’, is another option to achieve the DGT 0 emissions label, although at a much higher cost than Autogas. Companies such as Ecoche have already existed for years, which have a plan to soften the cost of approval. “It is about putting together conversion requests so that the amounts are diluted between each unit and the process can be addressed without an exorbitant outlay,” they explain.
Something that Elektrun Cars also does, who design, test and approve a ‘kit’ -electric motor, battery pack and electronics- to fit into a specific vehicle that used to be combustion. Specifically, they are currently working on 180 orders to transform classic Minis, which reach a range of 150 km. Although this whole process requires a period of one year -due to engineering and approvals-, which ends in an associated workshop for its placement and passage through the ITV. “The Mini is around a conversion price of between 14,000 and 16,000 euros, with a guarantee of up to 10 years,” emphasizes AD Sánchez, founder of Elektrun Cars.
The still high price “is due to the multiple procedures and cost of the materials. Something that would improve if in Spain there were aid for this type of electric. That is, for someone who buys a vehicle with these characteristics, they give up to 7,000 euros; but for someone who decides to recycle their vehicle and make it more ecological, they do not exist, “specifies Sánchez.
In fact, the founder of Elektrun Cars specifies that the demand is very high. «We have 1,900 orders between classic vehicles, utility vehicles such as the Seat Ibiza, last mile delivery vans…» And all these models, after passing the regulatory ITV, would get the 0 emissions label, the one that offers the most economic and mobility advantages .
The municipalities allow the circulation of historic vehicles, that is, with at least 30 years of age since its manufacture or registration – also to remain in their original state, not having substantially modified the technical characteristics of its main components: engine, brakes , steering and bodywork-, in LEZs. Of course, circulate and park in a closed parking lot. To circulate and park on the surface, vehicles must be over 50 years old. A historic vehicle also has other advantages: exemption from the Mechanical Traction Tax -depending on the city council-, economic insurance, as well as its revaluation, “due to its scarcity and official nature of a single vehicle,” says Antonio Guzmán, Approvalab regulatory advisor , Official Laboratory for Cataloging Historic Vehicles.
Thus, anyone who is interested in cataloging a vehicle as historic “should go to a historic vehicle cataloging laboratory authorized by the autonomous community where they reside,” explains Antonio Alcocer, technical director of the laboratory, in Madrid, Extremadura, Castilla and Leon and Andalusia.
The steps to follow are: «obtain a technical cataloging report, submit it to the Ministry of Industry of the autonomous community where the cataloging is being requested -paying the corresponding fees, if applicable-, that it be approved and request an appointment at an ITV station to pass a pre-registration inspection”, details Alcocer. “Once the new Technical Inspection Card is obtained, the documentation is presented to the DGT so that it can proceed with its registration as a VH, paying various fees,” he adds.
Guzmán points out that the “catalog certifies that it is an original vehicle, that it has not been reformed or modified that alter its original character. Or what is the same, that it is an authentic vehicle, the one that was manufactured and that it is preserved in an acceptable state of conservation to circulate ».
Finally, the cost of the entire process will depend on the autonomous community where it is processed since the Industry and ITV rates, as well as the price of the registration plates, vary. “We are talking about a range of between 600 and 900 euros,” they conclude from Approvalab.
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