4E PEET Status of Electric Motor Regulations 2022 (Updated December 2022)

Electric Motors

This latest PEET report summarises the status of energy efficiency regulations for electric motors within 4E economies.

Electric motors and motor systems2 are core technologies within all economies, responsible for over 50% of the world’s total electricity consumption. As a result, 4E has a dedicated group, EMSA3, working on the advancement of international standardisation for electric motor systems that underpin national regulations. This report draws on the work of EMSA and ongoing discussions held between 4E Members. This summary condenses many highly technical regulatory documents. However, to gain a thorough understanding, it should not replace consideration of these regulations. This report explains the coverage of MEPS regulations by motor type within 4E economies, and then shows the corresponding MEPS thresholds based on the IE rating. It concludes with a brief summary of the major trends and opportunities for electric motor regulations.

Electric Motor Types

In this report, we focus on the following groups of motors since these are the most prevalent, consume the largest share of energy and are the focus of most energy efficiency regulations within 4E economies.

 Three-phase AC induction motors, including

  • Integral horsepower (>1 hp or >= 0.75 kW)
  • Fractional horsepower (<1 hp or < 0.75 kW)

 Single phase AC induction motors

 AC motors with a variable speed drive (VSD)

 DC motors.

A glossary is provided at the end of this report to explain the terminology used.

Motor Types

Coverage of Regulations

All 4E economies have minimum energy performance standards4 (MEPS) in force for electric motors, however their scope varies. Their coverage across the types noted above is summarised in Table 1.

Although the total energy consumption by motors and its distribution across the various categories differs in each economy, the scope of regulations is a key factor influencing their impacts. In the following tables, countries with aligned regulations are grouped by colour coding.



  1. For simplicity, 375kW is shown as the upper and lower threshold boundary in these bands, however the actual value used in some economies is 373kW. 
  2. Canadian and US MEPS for three-phase AC induction motors in the capacity range 186-373kW. For NEMA Design A or B or IEC Design N motors they apply for 2 and 4 pole motors across the entire power range, for 6 pole motors up to 261 kW and for 8 pole motors up to 186 kW. For NEMA Design C and IEC Design H they apply up to 150 kW for 4, 6, or 8 pole configurations 
  3. Canadian and US MEPS for single-phase AC “open” motors cover capacitor-start, capacitor-run and capacitor start induction run motor types in the range of 0.18kW to 2.2kW 
  4. China’s requirements for single-phase AC motors are distinguished into 3 types with applicable rated capacities of as low as (0.12kW to 3.7kW for capacitor-start asynchronous motors or for two-value capacitor asynchronous motors) or (0.12kW to2.2kW for capacitor-run asynchronous motors) 
  5. MEPS requirements come into force in 2023
  6. MEPS requirements come into force in 2021 for VSDs rated above 0.12 kW and equal to or below 1000 kW, have a rated voltage between 100 V to 1,000 V and have only one AC voltage output
  7. MEPS requirements come into force in 2023 for single-phase AC motors rated greater than 0.12kW regardless of sub-type 
  8. MEPS and efficiency grade (labelling) requirements cover permanent magnetic synchronous DC motors and brushless DC motors (10W~1100W) for air conditioner fans

Although all 4E economies cover three-phase AC induction motors larger than 0.75 kW within the scope of regulations, there are subtle differences in coverage, as shown in Table 2.



  1. Notes 1 2≤200kW: 4>200kW
  2. 6>200kW: 8≤200kW
  3. The rated duty cycles is shown as S1, S2, S3, etc (under the IEC system) or MG-1 for comparable cycles specified by NEMA 
  4. Brake motor is a motor equipped with an electromechanical brake unit operating directly on the motor shaft without couplings
  5. In IEC standards ‘Ex eb increased safety motor’ means a motor intended for use in explosive atmospheres and certified ‘Ex eb’. A similar definition & classification applies in NEMA standards.
  6. According to IEC 60072-16 or equivalent NEMA frame sizes
  7. Totally enclosed non-ventilated (TENV) motor’ is a motor designed and specified to operate without a fan, and which dissipates heat predominantly through natural ventilation or radiation on the totally enclosed motor surface
  8. NEMA A (2-8 poles), B (2-6 poles or 2-8), C (4-8 poles)
  9. Fire pump motors are regulated in the range 0.75kW to 373(5) kW

Regulated Efficiency Requirements

Efficiency rating

Efficiency rating Standardised efficiency rating tiers for motor technologies are published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC5) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The NEMA standard is used by North American economies, while all other 4E economies use the IE class system produced by the IEC to set performance requirements. These two standards have become increasingly aligned due to extensive international cooperation over an extended period by organisations such as 4E EMSA. The equivalence of the two sets of performance thresholds is shown here. Differences in the power supply mean that the two do not always match exactly, however for the purposes of this summary they are sufficiently close to be interchangeable.
EM Efficiency rating DEC22

Summary of regulated efficiency requirements for electric motors
in 4E countries, 2022-2023

Table 3 and Figure 1 contains a summary of the mandatory requirements for different categories of motors, in terms of the IE class.

It should be noted that where the requirements do not precisely match the capacity ranges two values may be shown. If requirements vary by the number of poles the value for a 4-pole motor is shown.

In the following tables, countries with aligned regulations are grouped by colour coding.



  1. Australian and New Zealand regulations cover three-phase AC motors in the range 0.73 to 185kW.
  2. Canadian and US MEPS for polyphase AC squirrel cage induction motors in the 0.75 to 373(5) kW range distinguish between NEMA Design A & B (per IEC Design N) and NEMA Design C (per IEC Design H). For the NEMA A+B types the MEPS are mostly set at IE3 but some parts (depending on whether the motor is Open or Closed, the number of poles and the capacity) may be IE2 and some just above the IE3 threshold. Note the scope of requirements varies depending on the number of poles so 8 pole motors are only in scope up to 186 kW, 6 poles up to 261 kW and 4 or 2 poles the entire capacity range. NEMA Design C motors are only subject to MEPS in the 0.75kW to 150kW capacity range and for 4, 6 or 8 pole motors. These also have MEPS mostly at the IE3 level or just below (IE2) depending on the enclosure, number of poles & capacity. In addition, fire pump motors are regulated in the range 0.75kW to 373(5) kW.
  3. China’s requirements for single-phase AC motors are distinguished into 3 types with applicable rated capacities of as low as 0.12kW to 3.7kW for capacitor-start asynchronous motors or for two-value capacitor asynchronous motors or 0.12kW to 2.2kW for capacitor-run asynchronous motors.
  4. New European requirements come into force in 2023: IE4 requirements for polyphase AC squirrel cage induction motors are for motors rated above 75 kW and equal to or below 200 kW only.
  5. IE2 levels is for “Ex eb increased safety motors”, otherwise as per normal motor types.
  6. IE2 requirements are for Variable Speed Drives rated above 0.12 kW and equal to or below 1000 kW. Note the IE levels for VSDs not the same as the IE levels for motors only.
  7. New European requirements come into force in 2023: IE2 requirements apply to single-phase AC motors above 0.12 kW.

The footnotes for Table 3 also apply to this Figure 


4E economies continue to grow the quantity of energy saved from electric motors by increasing the stringency of energy efficiency regulations and expanding their scope to cover more motor types.

Notable examples of recent upgrades to both raise the level of ambition and expand the scope include:

New regulations in China came into effect on 1st June 2021

The EU/UK/Switzerland have adopted a range of requirements that came into force from 1 July 2021, and additional measures from 1 July 2023

Work is currently underway in the US and New Zealand to investigate further opportunities for electric motors. As shown in the preceding tables, there is considerable variety in the range of exclusions in current regulations. The fact that these are not universal suggests that some may not be warranted. Their removal may provide opportunities to increase energy savings, simplify regulations and eradicate loopholes. The expansion of international standards applicable to small motors over recent years has resulted in the inclusion of these products within the scope of regulations in several economies. Similarly, the advent of IEC standards for variable speed drives will enable this product group to be regulated by more countries, as in the EU. Further opportunities exist with motor types that are currently not regulated anywhere, including three-phase induction motors with wound-rotors (‘slip motors’) and three-phase synchronous motors. A significant number of motors are sold as components within other equipment. This poses very significant challenges for regulations and verification procedures for embedded motors and equipment with embedded motors affecting both industry and regulators. Since the regulatory treatment of these varies across different jurisdictions there are opportunities for international collaboration to better understand the different approaches and their impacts.


The following terminology is used in this report.

AC: Alternating current (AC) describes the flow of electric charge that periodically reverses, as in most mains electricity from the grid

DC: Direct current (DC) refers to the unidirectional flow of electrons and is typically used in low-voltage applications 

Duty: The statement of the load(s) to which a motor is subjected, including, if applicable, starting, electric braking, no-load and rest and de-energised periods, and including their durations and sequence in time

Duty type: A continuous, short time or periodic duty, comprising one or more loads remaining constant for the duration specified, or a non-periodic duty in which load, and speed vary within the permissible operating range

Fractional hp motors: Motors rated at < 1 horsepower (i.e. < 0.75 kW)

Full load: The load that causes a motor to operate at its maximum rating

IEA: International Energy Agency

IE class: The ‘International Efficiency’ classification of motors and VSDs defined by the respective IEC Standards

IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission

Integral hp motors: Motors rated at 1 horsepower or greater (i.e. >= 0.75 kW)

ISO: International Organization for Standardization Load All the values of the electrical and mechanical quantities that signify the demand made on a rotating machine by an electrical circuit or a mechanism at a given instant

MEPS: Minimum energy performance standard

NA: Not available (or applicable)

NEMA: National Electrical Manufacturers Association

PEET: Product Energy Efficiency Trends project under the 4E

TCP Rating: The set of rated values and operating conditions

Rated value: A quantity value assigned, generally by a manufacturer, for a specified operating condition

Rated output: The value of the output included in the rating. For a motor it means the mechanical power available at the motor shaft under rated operating conditions. It is expressed in kilowatts (kW) in countries following the metric system, and in horsepower (hp)in other countries. Single-speed motor A motor rated for 50 Hz and/or 60 Hz on-line operation

TR: Top Runner Programme in Japan

VSD Variable speed drive

2  An electric motor system includes driven equipment like a pump, fan or compressor as well as other components such as a converter, a transmission, etc.
3  The 4E Electric Motor Systems Annex. See

4  In this report, MEPS include the Japanese Top Runner programme.
5 Standard IEC 60034-30-1 defines four efficiency classes (IE) for single speed electric motors with a rated capacity from 0.12kW to 1000 kW. IEC TS 60034-30-2 specifies efficiency classes for variable speed electric motors.


The Technology Collaboration Programme on Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment (4E TCP) has made its best endeavours to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data used herein, however makes no warranties as to the accuracy of data herein nor accepts any liability for any action taken or decision made based on the contents of this report.

Views, findings and publications of the 4E TCP do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or its individual member countries.


Since 2008, the Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment TCP (4E) has tracked the efficiency trends of major globally traded products and corresponding energy efficiency regulations. 

This enables 4E Members to identify whether their current policies are being effective, how these policies and the performance of products compares across different regions and opportunities for closer alignment.

This process forms a multi-lateral exchange between regulators within 4E Member countries that accelerates the development of product policies and increases the level of energy savings, while also reducing regulatory and cost burdens on industry and consumers.

Joint analysis by the IEA and 4E into the global impacts of energy efficiency regulations¹ has shown that:


The longest running energy efficiency (EES&L) programmes are estimated to deliver annual reductions of around 15% of total current electricity consumption.


In the nine countries/regions for which data were available, these programmes reduced annual electricity consumption by a total of around 1,580 terawatt-hours in 2018 – similar to the total electricity generation of wind and solar energy in those countries.


On average, the energy efficiency of new major appliances in countries with EES&L programmes has increased two to three times the underlying rate of technology improvement.

-2& 2

The average purchase price of appliances covered by EES&L programmes declined at a rate of 2-3% per year.

Within 4E economies, energy efficiency regulations, taken to include minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), mandatory and voluntary energy labelling in this report, are a key driver for product efficiency.

Core elements of these regulations include:

Since 2020, the 4E Product Energy Efficiency Trends (PEET) project has been monitoring the status of these elements across regulations for major appliance and equipment types across 4E Member countries.

1 IEA 4E TCP (2021), Achievements of Energy Efficiency Appliance and Equipment Standards and Labelling Programmes, IEA, Paris (2021).