Energy efficiency standard for electric motors, Ecodesign requirements

Electric motors account for a large part of the electricity used. If we look at Sweden, electric motors account for about 65 percent of the electricity used in industry. In the country in total, they account for 40 percent. To reduce this use of electricity, there are legal requirements regarding the efficiency of electric motors manufactured in the EU, or imported into the EU.

Three-phase, single-speed asynchronous motors are covered by the requirements today. Asynchronous motors are the most common type of motor and account for 90 percent of the electricity consumption of all electric motors in the power range 0.75 - 375 kW.

According to that standard, the energy efficiency classes have the designations IE1, IE2, IE3 and IE4, where IE4 has the highest efficiency.

Revision of the standard

A revision of the standard was decided by the Ecodesign Committee in 2019. The revision was published on October 1, 2019. The following will apply:

For electric motors

From July 1, 2021

2-, 4-, 6- and 8-pole motors from 0.75 - 1000 kW (previously up to 375kW) are included in efficiency class IE3.

Motors within the range 0.12 - 0.75 kW must meet efficiency class IE2.

The previous possibility to replace IE3 motors with an IE2 motor with frequency drive disappears.

From July 1, 2023

For 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-pole motors from 0.12 - 1000 kW, the efficiency class IE2 now also applies to Ex eb certified motors with high safety.

Single phase motors with greater power than 0.12 kW are covered by the corresponding IE2 class.

The higher efficiency class IE4 applies to 2, 4 and 6-pole motors between 75 - 200 kW.

For frequency inverters

From July 1, 2021

For use with electric motors with power from 0.12 - 1000 kW, the frequency inverter must pass efficiency class IE2 specially designed for inverters.

Current requirements according to the Directive

Since 16 June, 2011 it is prohibited to place electric motors below energy efficiency class IE2 on the market, or to put them into service in the EU.

Since January 1, 2015, electric motors within the range 7.5 - 375 kW (2-, 4-, and 6-pole) must meet the requirements for IE3, or IE2 if the latter is combined with frequency inverters for speed control. The legal requirement thus provides two options.

From January 1, 2017, the requirements were tightened so that all motors 0.75 - 375 kW (2-, 4-, and 6-pole) must meet the requirements for IE3, or IE2 if they are combined with frequency inverters.

In the exceptions where an IE2 motor is to be used with a frequency inverter, the motor must be equipped with the following sticker:


Exemptions from the current directive

  • Operation other than S1 (continuous drive) or S3 (intermittent drive) with a nominal cyclicity factor of 80 percent or lower.
  • Made for assembly with frequency inverters (integral motors).
  • Electric motors made for use in liquid.
  • Electric motors that are fully integrated into a product (e.g. a gear, pump, fan or compressor) where the energy performance is not tested independently of the product.
  • Brake motors

Electric motors intended for operation exclusively:

  • At altitudes exceeding 4 000 meters above sea level.
  • If ambient air temperatures exceed 60°C.
  • Where maximum operating temperature exceeds 400°C.
  • Where ambient air temperatures are less than -30°C for all motors, or less than 0°C for motors with water cooling.
  • In explosive atmospheres (as defined in Directive 94/9 / EC 9)

The requirements do not apply to ships or other means of transport that carry goods or persons, since there must be specially designed engines for this purpose. (If the same mobile conveyor belt is used on ships as well as on land, the rules apply).

Also, the requirements do not apply to repair of motors previously placed on the market, or put into service - unless the repair is so extensive that the product will in practice be brand new.

If the motor is to be further exported for use outside Europe, the requirements do not apply.

Some other requirements apply to water-cooled motors.

History and previous classification

In 1998, the EU and the European engine manufacturer organization CEMEP introduced a classification and labeling system for low-voltage AC motors divided into different efficiency classes. This voluntary classification sorted the motors into efficiency classes EFF1, EFF2 and EFF3 where class EFF1 had the highest efficiency.

In 2008, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) introduced the global standard EN 60034-30: 2008 for the classification of three-phase asynchronous motors. According to the new statutory standard, energy efficiency classes now have the designations IE1, IE2 and IE3, where IE3 has the highest efficiency. The standard replaced the previous system.

In 2014, the IEC standard was supplemented with a new standard EN 60034-30-1: 2014.

As electric motors are further developed, the requirements are tightened.

Comparison of the different classification systems

  • IE1 includes motors with standard efficiency that are roughly equivalent to EFF2. The efficiency values for EFF2 motors in IE1 have been adjusted to take into account that a new standard applies to measuring efficiency.
  • IE2 includes motors with efficiencies roughly equivalent to EFF1. The efficiency values for EFF1 motors in IE2 have been adjusted to take account of the new standard for measuring efficiency.
  • IE3 includes motors that have further increased efficiency (Premium Efficiency). IE3 is reduced by another 15 percent (Super Premium Efficiency).

Jörgen Danielsson

Jörgen Danielsson, Product manager electric motors
Direct: +46 499-271 26