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28 March 2022

What are zero emission vehicles?

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4 min.
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Let's have a look at which cars have the environmental 0 sticker, according to how the DGT classifies zero emission vehicles.

The new mobility that is being promoted in various cities around the world has also changed how we move around in Spain. As we will see at Global Mobilty Call, the sustainable mobility of the future has already taken its first steps in today’s society.

An example of this can be found in all cars that are included in the Vehicle Registry of the Dirección General de Tráfico (Traffic Department) with an environmental sticker that identifies the level of contamination and gases emitted. The purpose of this segmentation is to enable the public administration to apply environmental policies that will limit the use of certain vehicles due to their heavy contamination.

Currently there are four environmental groupings. From higher to lower level of contamination, these are: B sticker, these are cars and small vans fuelled with petrol, registered after January 2000, and diesel vehicles registered after January 2006. C sticker vehicles are cars and small vans fuelled with petrol and registered after January 2006, and diesel vehicles registered after 2014.

The next category, which we already mentioned in the article where we established the differences between hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles: the ECO sticker. Although it includes more cases, such as those fuelled by natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles with a range of less than 40 kilometres.

Lastly, the 0 sticker is for those vehicles that run with the cleanest possible energy. This section includes electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars with a range over 40 kilometres and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

This post will focus on the latter environmental classification, and explain the main features of the vehicles included in this category.

Different categories of vehicles fuelled by clean energy

The technical features that promote this energy, according to the DGT, are included in five different sections, with their own headings:

  • BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)
  • REEV (Range extended Electric Vehicle)
  • PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle): A plug-in hybrid vehicle with a range of at least 40 km.
  • FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle)
  • HICEV (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle)

All of these groups of vehicles are available in Spain, but the plug-in range is the most common. We also have battery electric vehicles (BEV) and range extended electric vehicles (REEV), both of which are not as common as the others. The former are purely electric, with one or more having an engine that is fuelled from stored energy, whereas the latter have a small ancillary combustion engine, the only purpose of which is to recharge the battery.

This category also includes cars fuelled by hydrogen combustion or a fuel cell, an electric engine that generates power thanks to fuel cells, although there are very few of these in Spain. 

As we saw in the previous article on electric cars and their ranges, in the PHEV section we mentioned the variety in the selection of models for every taste. This is increased by the other vehicles bearing this sticker, as it includes a wide variety of sub-compact and compact cars, SUVs or sedans.

Currently most car manufacturers are more actively promoting electric mobility, as there are government subsidies for their purchase, which makes them an especially attractive option.

Why is it important for our vehicle to have a ZERO sticker?

Cities change, and so does their mobility. The public agencies in charge of managing transportation within cities will increasingly be applying plans where mobility that is not environmentally-friendly will not be allowed inside cities and will have to stay on the outskirts, and herein lies the importance of this environmental emblem.

The plans currently in force apply regulations by which zero-emission vehicles can freely drive through the city centre, as well as having discounts and exemptions in the registration tax and reduced road tax, also in parking houses and in emissions tests for technical inspections.  They also have privileges to drive in the bus- high occupancy vehicle lanes during heavy traffic or in low emissions areas.