Electric Motor Efficiency Classes in EU, US, and China

electric motor measured effiiciency

Electric Motor Efficiency Classes in EU, US, and China

George Sorin Ioan for Zondits, February 26, 2015

The legislatures in the three largest economies in the world (as of 2013 – according to the International Monetary Fund) have similar requirements and classifications for motor efficiency. Because of this, motor manufacturers could design one motor and market it in all three jurisdictions as having the same energy efficiency class.

Last year the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) updated its 2008 IEC/EN 60034-30 standard and introduced an additional level of efficiency (IE4). The 2014 IEC/EN 60034-30-1 standard has four tiers for electric motors:

  • IE1 Standard efficiency
  • IE2 High efficiency
  • IE3 Premium efficiency
  • IE4 Super premium efficiency

The regulators in the top three economies have defined minimum requirements and the energy class for motors as follows:

  • The European Union defined the current minimum efficiency requirements for electric motors in the 2009 EU Directive 640. The requirements are identical with the IEC/EN 60034-30 standard.
  • The United States defined the current minimum efficiency requirements for electric motors in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. The requirements are defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in the 2006 NEMA-MG1 standard. NEMA categorizes motors as:
    • NEMA Energy efficiency – identical to IE2
    • NEMA Premium efficiency – identical to IE3
  • China defined the current minimum efficiency requirements for electric motors in the 2011 GB25958-2010 standard. The requirements are identical with the IEC/EN 60034-30 standard.

The harmonization helps the motor manufacturers by allowing them to supply and market the same motor in jurisdictions in which the requirements for efficiency, testing, and labeling are identical.

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Major energy efficiency moves for electric motors

Internation Electrotechnical Commission News Release, 2015 Number 10

Globally, electric motor systems are estimated to be responsible for 46% of electricity use (1). Electric motors convert electrical energy to mechanical energy; they are for example used to rotate pumps, drive compressors, lift and move materials or run fans, blowers, drills or mixers. Electric motors are the “workhorses” of industry. (1)

For industrial applications alone, it’s estimated that electric motor systems account for approximately 70% of electricity consumption1. Being such a huge consumer of electricity, small improvements can lead to huge energy savings. The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has put in place energy efficiency classes for electric motors, known as the IE code, which are summarized in IEC International Standard: IEC 60034-30-1.

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