This article talks about the implementation of the requirements of European Union regulation 640/2009
Here are the regulation dates for motors (0.75-375 kW) put on the market in the EU:
16 Jun 2011: IE2 min. efficiency.
1 Jan 2015: for motors with rated output 7.5-375 kW - IE3 min. OR IE2+VSD.
1 Jan 2017: for motors with rated output 0.75-375 kW - IE3 min. OR IE2+VSD.
VSD = variable speed drive which greatly increases overall efficiency.
Motors consume 40% of the electricity in the EU according to European Commission figures so this is the most significant ecodesign regulation to date. It is estimated that around 20 to 30% efficiency improvements can be made, and will save more than 3x the energy of any of the other individual regulations adopted so far, roughly equivalent to the energy consumption of the whole of Sweden!
Conforming to these requirements may be quite demanding for EU industry. It is thought that the US is significantly ahead of the EU. In 2009 already 54% of the US market met IE2 and 15% was IE3. Apart from the efficiency of the motor itself a key issue is that very few motors in the EU are used with speed control electronics such as VSD. Germany is the only exception to this.
Thanks to Cobham Technical Services (ERA Technology)