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Motor vehicles with trailers: heating systems for the passenger compartment (until 2014)

Requirements concerning heating systems for the passenger compartments of motor vehicles will in future form an integral part of the EC type-approval procedure for motor vehicles.


Directive 2001/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 relating to heating systems for motor vehicles and their trailers, amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC and repealing Council Directive 78/548/EEC [See amending acts].


Directive 2001/56/EC sets out requirements concerning heating systems for the passenger compartments of motor vehicles.

Directive 2001/56/EC is one of the specific Directives concerning the EC type-approval procedure laid down in Directive 70/156/EEC. The technical requirements it sets out therefore concern the type-approval of motor vehicles equipped with a heating system and heating systems as components.

"Heating system" means any type of device that is designed to increase the temperature of the interior of a vehicle, including any load area.

Directive 2001/56/EC extends the scope of Directive 78/548/EEC that covered only heating systems using the heat from the engine. In future, "combustion heaters" will also be covered. A "combustion heater" is defined in the Directive as a device directly using liquid or gaseous fuel and not using the waste heat from the engine used for propulsion of the vehicle.

Directive 2001/56/EC also extends the scope of Council Directive 78/548/EEC to cover not only category M1 vehicles (private cars) but all vehicles in categories M, N and O (vehicles for the carriage of persons and goods, and trailers) where a heating system is fitted.

With effect from 9 May 2004, for EC approval to be granted for a vehicle type with regard to the heating system or a type of combustion heater the requirements of Directive 2001/56/EC must be met. With effect from 9 May 2005, all new vehicles must meet these requirements.

Directive 78/548/EEC is repealed with effect from 9 May 2004.

Heating systems fuelled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

Directive 2004/78/EC amends Directive 2001/56/EC by introducing additional safety requirements for motor-vehicles heating systems fuelled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

With effect from 1 January 2006, these new technical requirements will apply to EC approval for types of vehicle equipped with heating systems fuelled by LPG or types of combustion heaters fuelled by LPG. With effect from 1 January 2007, all new vehicles equipped with heating systems fuelled by LPG will have to meet these requirements.

The introduction of additional requirements for heating systems fuelled by LPG was provided for in Article 5 of Directive 2001/56/EC, since that Article initially applied only to heating systems running on liquid fuel such as petrol or diesel.


Many types of vehicle are nowadays equipped with systems for heating the passenger compartments (buses) , load areas (lorries) or resting space (caravans). For obvious reasons of safety and environmental protection, requirements corresponding to the strictest technological standards are essential.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2001/56/EC09.11.200109.05.2003OJ L 292 of 09.11.2001

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2004/78/EC20.05.200430.09.2004OJ L 153 of 30.04.2004
Directive 2006/119/EC18.12.200630.09.2007OJ L 330 of 28.11.2006
Last updated: 28.11.2006
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