Standards & regulations


Regulations in Switzerland

The Federal Council amended the Ordinance of 1 November 2017 (as of 1 January 2018) on energy efficiency requirements for mass produced systems, vehicles and appliances which also covers motors, pumps and fans. The relevant regulation is now called EnEV (Energy Efficiency Ordinance; regulation on the requirements of energy efficiency of  mass produced systems, vehicles and appliances). The ordinance and all relevant annexes are coordinated with the corresponding European Ecodesign Directives (available in German, French and Italian).

Due to the change in the ordinance on requirements for energy efficiency of April 2020, only efficiency class IE3 (or better) and from 0.12kW to 0.75 only IE2 (or better) are approved for sale for electric motors from 1 July 2021.

Regulations in the EU

In the EU, the following Ecodesign Directives (directives for creating a framework to establish the requirements for the environmentally sound design of energy-related products) for motors, pumps and fans are in force:

Ecodesign Electric Motors (EC Regulation No. 640/2009)
Since 1 January 2015, motors with 7.5 kW or greater and since 2017 all motor sizes from 0.75 kW to 375 kW must comply with the premium efficiency class IE3. However, motors from the efficiency class IE2 can still be marketed if they are operated together with a variable frequency drive (VFD). By means of the VFD, the motor speed can be controlled depending on the load, in order to ensure optimum efficiency at all times. This means that the energy consumption can be drastically reduced when the motor is operated at different speeds and loads. Download

On 25 October 2019, the European Union announced the increase of the minimum energy efficiency requirements for electric motors and frequency converters. The requirements of the new Regulation (EC) No. 1781/2019 will enter into force on 1 July 2021. Download

Ecodesign Circulation Pumps (EC Regulation No. 641/2009)
Since 1 August 2015, an Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) of 0.23 is required for glandless standalone circulators and glandless circulators integrated in products from 1 W to 2500 W of hydraulic power. Download

Ecodesign Water Pumps (EU Regulation No. 547/2012)
Since 1 January 2015, water pumps have to meet the required hydraulic pump efficiency at the optimum operating point with the Minimum Efficiency Index (MEI) of 0.4. Download

Ecodesign Fans (EU Regulation No. 327/2011)
Since 1 January 2015, fans with an electric input power between 125 W and 500 kW must meet the minimum requirement for the energy efficiency of the second tier. Download

IEC minimum efficiencies

IEC Efficiency classes

The efficiency class of grid-operated electric motors is determined by using the IE-code according to the IEC 60034-30-1 (2014), which is based on the test standard IEC 60034-2-1 (2014):

IE1 = Standard Efficiency
IE2 = High Efficiency
IE3 = Premium Efficiency
IE4 = Super Premium Efficiency

Motor efficiency standards

All IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards are available at

The following list provides an overview of the most important international standards for rotating machines:

Area IEC Reference Published Title    
Classification IEC 60034-1 2017 Rating and performance Preview Link
Efficiency tests IEC 60034-2-1 2014 Standard methods for determining losses and efficiency from tests (excluding machines for traction vehicles) Preview Link
Efficiency tests IEC 60034-2-2 2010 Specific methods for determining separate losses of large machines from tests - Supplement to IEC 60034-2-1 Preview Link
Efficiency tests of motors with a frequency converter supply IEC 60034-2-3 2020 Specific test methods for determining losses and efficiency of converter-fed AC induction motors Preview Link
Efficiency classes IEC 60034-30-1 2014 Efficiency classes of line operated AC motors (IE-code) Preview Link
Guide IEC 60034-31 2010 Selection of energy-efficient motors including variable speed applications - Application guide Preview Link
Efficiency tests and classes of frequency converters and motors with frequency converters IEC 61800-9-2 2017 Adjustable speed electrical power drive systems - Part 9-2: Ecodesign for power drive systems, motor starters, power electronics and their driven applications - Energy efficiency indicators for power drive systems and motor starters. Preview Link


IEC Test methods

The ratio of the mechanical power delivered to the shaft (see rating plate) to the electrical power supplied is the efficiency of an electric motor. It is usually listed for the rated power (100% load), in the catalogue it is also given for 25%, 50% and 75% partial load. The maximum efficiency is usually between 75% and 100%. The efficiency drops sharply below 50%.

The efficiency of an electric motor is determined in a laboratory on the test bench. The standard IEC 60034-2-1 (2014) defines the conditions for the measurement of the losses. It covers all five categories of losses of an electric motor.

If you have a motor test bench that can also be used for an IEC 60034-2-1 test for third parties, please send us an e-mail with the available power range to, so that we can add you to the list of qualified laboratories.