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Ecodesign for motors and drives

Commission Regulation EU 2019/1781, amendment (EU) 2021/341 sets new requirements for electric motors and variable speed drives.

The International Energy Agency works with countries around the world to shape energy policies for a secure and sustainable future. ABB’s electric motors and variable speed drives (VSD), which offer the highest levels of energy efficiency, can therefore play a crucial role in containing worldwide energy consumption and in reducing CO2 emissions.

The European Union plan targets meeting energy efficiency and CO2 emission goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C. With these ambitions in mind, EU member countries have agreed about new requirements in the regulation EU 2019/1781.

This latest Ecodesign Regulation (EU) 2019/1781 came into effect in October 2019 and it applies to low-voltage induction electric motors rated at less than 1,000 V alternating current (AC) and to variable speed drives (VSD). The regulation will be implemented in two steps starting on July 1, 2021. The second stage, which expands the scope further and increases the requirements for motors, commences two years later, on July 1, 2023.

July 1, 2021 - Step 1


The regulation will cover 3-phase single-speed motors 50 Hz, 60 Hz, 50/60 Hz for direct-on-line operation with continuous duty defined as S3 ≥ 80% and S6 ≥ 80%. It is important to note that the option of IE2 + VSD ceases.

IE3 efficiency level mandatory for motors:

  • Rated output from 0.75 to 1000 kW
  • Motors with protection types Ex ec, Ex d, Ex de, Ext
  • Motors with IC418 cooling
  • Brake motors with external brake

IE2 efficiency mandatory for 3-phase motors with rated output from 0.12 kW and below 0.75 kW.


IE2 efficiency class mandatory for AC drives.

The regulation will cover 3-phase standard drives (diode rectifier) from 0.12 kW ≤ Pn ≤ 1,000 kW. 

July 1, 2023 - Step 2


IE4 efficiency level mandatory for 3-phase motors:  Rated output equal to or above 75 kW and equal or below 200 kW; with 2, 4 or 6 poles which are not brake motors nor Ex-motors.     

IE3 requirements as from July 1, 2021.

IE2 efficiency level mandatory for motors:

  • Ex eb increased safety motors from 0.12 to 1000 kW
  • Single-phase motors from 0.12 to 1000 kW



No changes from July 1, 2021.

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