According to a recent IEA study1 electric motors are responsible for 53% of global electricity use.
The IEC has contributed to the development of energy efficient electric motor systems through the internationally relevant test Standard IEC 60034-2-1 for electric motors and the IEC 60034-30-1 classification scheme comprising four levels of motor efficiency ("IE-code"):
IE1 Standard Efficiency
IE2 High Efficiency
IE3 Premium Efficiency
IE4 Super premium Efficiency
These IE-codes allow governments to specify the efficiency levels for their minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).
The European Union sets motor MEPS levels (Directive 640/2009) at IE3 (or IE2 in combination with a variable frequency drive) from 2017 covering motors with 0.75 kW up to 375 kW (see Table 1 for details).
The USA was the first country in the world to set MEPS for motors. In 1997 (Energy Policy Act) the minimum required level was set at the equivalent of IE2. In 2007 (Energy Independence and Security Act) the MEPS were raised to the equivalent of the IE3 level (NEMA Premium), in 2015 the scope was further widened.
The USA currently recognizes in its legal requirements the national testing standard IEEE 112B, the Canadian test standard CSA390 but not yet the IEC test Standard IEC 60034-2-1 (the differences are minimal).
Australia and New Zealand set MEPS levels at IE2 in 2000 (AS/NZS 1359.5-2000), effective since 2001 based on the IEC test Standard IEC 61972 from 2002 (a predecessor of IEC 60034-2-1).
China decided in 2002 (GB 18613) for small and medium three-phase asynchronous motors to start with motor MEPS. The standard has been updated in 2006 and 2012 to align with IEC Standards and to move the MEPS level step by step from IE1 to IE2. IE3 is envisaged as a voluntary Standard.
Japan decided to align its national JIS with IEC efficiency classes and to include electric motors at the IE2 and IE3 level in its Toprunner programme in 2014.
India has a comparative efficiency label since 2009 and a voluntary standard on IE2 level since 2012.
Some countries use their own national test standards while at the same time also referencing the International Test Standard IEC 60034-2-1.
We have now reached the point where countries consuming 76% of the global electricity production have set MEPS for motors at either IE2 or IE3 level. This is a high level of international harmonization for a globally traded product, recognizing at the same time that MEPS can differ according to the market situation of different countries.
The barriers to trade are reduced through the transparent nomenclature and definitions of the IE-code (MEPS levels at IE2 or IE3).
Motor energy efficiency measurement standards used around the world. Review of Energy Efficiency Measurement Standards for Induction Motors in the Context of the IECEE Global Efficiency Labeling Initiative
Minimum Requirements Electric Motors worldwide
3-phase induction motors
IEC 60034-30-1, 2014
IEC 60034-2-1, 2014
(Low Voltage <1000 V)
Global classes IEC-Code
incl. stray load losses
National Policy Requirement
Super Premium Efficiency
Summation of losses with load test: Additional losses PLL determinated from residual loss
I) Output power 0.12 kW -
1000 kW, 50 and 60 Hz,
line operated 2-,4-,6- and
II) for 3-phase machines direct online,
<1 kV, rated output power <1000 kW
III) Minimum Energy Performance
*) European Union, Norway:
IE3 or IE2 + VFD; 0.75 - 375 kW
**) IE3 per 30-8-2019; 0.12 - 370 kW
***) Polyphase: eq. to IE3;
single phase: IE2 levels or above
Motor manufacturers are producing and selling electric motors across many countries. As test standards, efficiency levels and certification schemes vary from country to country, manufacturers initiated the IECEE Global Motor Energy Efficiency Programme (GMEE).
The goal of the programme is to have one recognized test method (IEC 60034-2-1), one test report format, one efficiency classification (IEC 60034-30-1), one certification process and one label for electric motors in all participating countries.
GMEE is based on the IECEE Certification Body (CB) Scheme. The Scheme is based on IEC International Standards and may also account for national differences to these Standards. The main objective of the Scheme is to realize the concept of “one product, one test, one certificate” through promoting the harmonization of national standards with International Standards.
The IECEE has more than 50 Member countries, nearly 80 participating National Certification Bodies (NCBs) and close to 500 CB Testing Laboratories (CBTLs). National Certification Bodies are assessed on site to verify their compliance against ISO/IEC 17065 and the IECEE Basic Rules, Rules of Procedures and Operational Documents.
The focus on motor efficiency has shifted from the product "motor" to the "Motor Driven Unit" which is the system consisting of the motor control with a variable frequency drive, the motor itself, the mechanical equipment and the driven application (pump, fan, compressor, etc.).
EC 61800-9-2, edition 1, 2017 has been published as a test Standard and an efficiency classification for converters. In 2018 – 2020 a global round robin testing programme for converter losses has been launched by IEC SC22G in cooperation with 4E EMSA to secure the test method and efficiency classification for variable frequency drives. In IEC TS 60034-2-3, 2013 a test method was published for motors driven by converters. Also, in IEC TS 60034-30-2, 2016 an efficiency classification for motors driven by converters was published.