Classification of power-driven vehicles and trailers

This page was last updated on 7th February 2020

Extracted from UN ECE document “Consolidated Resolution on the Construction of Vehicles (R.E.3) (Revision 6)” – ECE/TRANS/WP.29/78/Rev.6 – 11 July 2017:

2.1. Category L – Motor vehicles with less than four wheels

2.1.1.
Category L1“: A two-wheeled vehicle with an engine cylinder capacity in the case of a thermic engine not exceeding 50 cm3 and whatever the means of propulsion a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 km/h.

2.1.2.
Category L2“:A three-wheeled vehicle of any wheel arrangement with an engine cylinder capacity in the case of a thermic engine not exceeding 50 cm3 and whatever the means of propulsion a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 km/h.

2.1.3.
Category L3“: A two-wheeled vehicle with an engine cylinder capacity in the case of a thermic engine exceeding 50 cm3 or whatever the means of propulsion a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h.

2.1.4.
Category L4“: A vehicle with three wheels asymmetrically arranged in relation to the longitudinal median plane with an engine cylinder capacity in the case of a thermic engine exceeding 50 cm3 or whatever the means of propulsion a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h (motor cycles with sidecars).

2.1.5.
Category L5“: A vehicle with three wheels symmetrically arranged in relation to the longitudinal median plane with an engine cylinder capacity in the case of a thermic engine exceeding 50 cm3 or whatever the means of propulsion a maximum design speed exceeding 50 km/h.

2.1.6.
Category L6“: A vehicle with four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 350 kg, not including the mass of the batteries in case of electric vehicles, whose maximum design speed is not more than 45 km/h, and whose engine cylinder capacity does not exceed 50 cm3 for spark (positive) ignition engines, or whose maximum net power output does not exceed 4 kW in the case of other internal combustion engines, or whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 4 kW in the case of electric engines.

2.1.7.
Category L7“: A vehicle with four wheels, other than that classified for the category L6, whose unladen mass is not more than 400 kg (550 kg for vehicles intended for carrying goods), not including the mass of batteries in the case of electric vehicles and whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 15 kW.

2.2. Category M – Power-driven vehicles having at least four wheels and used for the carriage of passengers

2.2.1.
Category M1“: Vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat.

2.2.2.
Category M2“: Vehicles used for the carriage of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, and having a maximum mass not exceeding 5 tonnes.

2.2.3.
Category M3“: Vehicles used for the carriage of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, and having a maximum mass exceeding 5 tonnes.

2.2.4.
Vehicles of categories M2 and M3 belong to:

2.2.4.1
For vehicles having a capacity exceeding 22 passengers in addition to the driver, there are three classes of vehicles:

2.2.4.1.1.
Class I“: Vehicles constructed with areas for standing passengers, to allow frequent passenger movement.

2.2.4.1.2.
Class II“: Vehicles constructed principally for the carriage of seated passengers, and designed to allow the carriage of standing passengers in the gangway and/or in an area which does not exceed the space provided for two double seats.

2.2.4.1.3.
Class III“: Vehicles constructed exclusively for the carriage of seated passengers.

2.2.4.1.4.
A vehicle may be regarded as belonging in more than one class. In such a case it may be approved for each class to which it corresponds.

2.2.4.2
For vehicles having a capacity not exceeding 22 passengers in addition to the driver, there are two classes of vehicles:

2.2.4.2.1.
Class A“: Vehicles designed to carry standing passengers; a vehicle of this class has seats and shall have provisions for standing passengers.

2.2.4.2.2
Class B“: Vehicles not designed to carry standing passengers; a vehicle of this class has no provision for standing passengers.

2.2.5.
Remarks

2.2.5.1.
Articulated bus or coach” is a vehicle which consists of two or more rigid sections which articulate relative to one another; the passengers compartments of each section intercommunicate so that passengers can move freely between them; the rigid sections are permanently connected so that they can only be separated by an operation involving facilities which are normally only found in workshop.

2.2.5.2.
Articulated buses or coaches comprising two or more non-separable but articulated units shall be considered as single vehicles.

2.2.5.3.
In the case of a towing vehicle designed to be coupled to a semi-trailer (tractor for semi-trailer), the mass to be considered for classifying the vehicle is the mass of the tractor vehicle in running trim, increased by the mass corresponding to the maximum static vertical load transferred to the tractor vehicle by the semi-trailer and, where applicable, by the maximum mass of the tractor vehicle’s own load.

2.2.5.4.
Mass of a vehicle in running order” means the mass of an unladen vehicle with bodywork, and with coupling device in the case of a towing vehicle, or the mass of the chassis with cab if the manufacturer does not fit the bodywork and/or coupling device, including coolant, oils, 90 per cent of fuel, 100 per cent of other liquids except used waters, tools, spare wheel, driver (75 kg) and, for buses and coaches, the mass of the crew member (75 kg) if there is a crew seat in the vehicle.

2.3. Category N – Power-driven vehicles having at least four wheels and used for the carriage of goods

2.3.1.
Category N1“: Vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes.

2.3.2
Category N2“: Vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 12 tonnes.

2.3.3.
Category N3“: Vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass exceeding 12 tonnes.

2.3.4.
Remarks

2.3.4.1.
In the case of a towing vehicle designed to be coupled to a semi-trailer (tractor for semi–trailer), the mass to be considered for classifying the vehicle is the mass of the tractor vehicle in running trim, increased by the mass corresponding to the maximum static vertical load transferred to the tractor vehicle by the semi-trailer and, where applicable, by the maximum mass of the tractor vehicles own load.

2.3.4.2.
The equipment and installations carried on certain special purpose vehicles (crane vehicles, workshop vehicles, publicity vehicles, etc.) are regarded as being equivalent to goods.

2.4. Category O – Trailers (including semi–trailers)

2.4.1.
Category O1“: Trailers with a maximum mass not exceeding 0.75 tonnes.

2.4.2.
Category O2“: Trailers with a maximum mass exceeding 0.75 tonnes, but not exceeding 3.5 tonnes.

2.4.3.
Category O3“: Trailers with a maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, but not exceeding 10 tonnes.

2.4.4.
Category O4“: Trailers with a maximum mass exceeding 10 tonnes.

2.4.5.
Furthermore, trailers of categories O2, O3 and O4 are of one of the three following types:

2.4.5.1.
Semi-trailer“: A towed vehicle, in which the axle(s) is (are) positioned behind the centre of gravity of the vehicle (when uniformly loaded), and which is equipped with a connecting device permitting horizontal and vertical forces to be transmitted to the towing vehicle. One or more of the axles may be driven by the towing vehicle.

2.4.5.2.
Full trailer“: A towed vehicle having at least two axles, and equipped with a towing device which can move vertically (in relation to the trailer) and controls the direction of the front axle(s), but which transmits no significant static load to the towing vehicle. One or more of the axles may be driven by the towing vehicle.

2.4.5.3.
Centre-axle trailer“: A towed vehicle, equipped with a towing device which cannot move vertically (in relation to the trailer) and in which the axle(s) is (are) positioned close to the centre of gravity of the vehicle (when uniformly loaded) such that only a small static vertical load, not exceeding 10 per cent of that corresponding to the maximum mass of the trailer or a load of 1,000 daN (whichever is the lesser) is transmitted to the towing vehicle. One or more of the axles may be driven by the towing vehicle.

2.4.6.
Remark

In the case of a semi-trailer or centre-axle trailer, the maximum mass to be considered for classifying the trailer corresponds to the static vertical load transmitted to the ground by the axle or axles of the semi-trailer or centre-axle trailer when coupled to the towing vehicle and carrying its maximum load.

2.5. “Special purpose vehicle“: A vehicle of category M, N or O for conveying passengers or goods and for performing a special function for which special body arrangements and/or equipment are necessary.

2.5.1.
Motor caravan“: A special purpose M1 category vehicle constructed to include accommodation space which contains at least the following equipment:

(a)         Seats and table;

(b)         Sleeping accommodation which may be converted from the seats;

(c)         Cooking facilities; and

(d)         Storage facilities.

This equipment shall be rigidly fixed to the living compartment; however, the table may be designed to be easily removable.

2.5.2.
Armoured vehicle“: Vehicle intended for the protection of conveyed passengers and/or goods and complying with armour plating anti-bullet requirements.

2.5.3.
Ambulance“: Motor vehicle of category M intended for the transport of sick or injured people and having special equipment for such purpose.

2.5.4.
Hearse“: Motor vehicle intended for the transport of deceased people and having special equipment for such purpose.

2.6.  Agricultural vehicles (Categories T, R and S)

2.6.1.
Category T” – means any motorised, wheeled or tracked agricultural or forestry vehicle having at least two axles and a maximum design speed of not less than 6 km/h, the main function of which lies in its tractive power and which has been especially designed to pull, push, carry and actuate certain interchangeable equipment designed to perform agricultural or forestry work, or to tow agricultural or forestry trailers or equipment; it may be adapted to carry a load in the context of agricultural or forestry work and/or may be equipped with one or more passenger seats.

2.6.2.
Category R – Agricultural trailer“: means any agricultural or forestry vehicle intended mainly to be towed by a tractor and intended mainly to carry loads or to process materials and where the ratio of the technically permissible maximum laden mass to the unladen mass of that vehicle is equal to or greater than 3.0.

2.6.3
Category S – Interchangeable towed equipment“: means any vehicle used in agriculture or forestry which is designed to be towed by a tractor, changes or adds to its functions, permanently incorporates an implement or is designed to process materials, which may include a load platform designed and constructed to receive any tools and appliances needed for those purposes and to store temporarily any materials produced or needed during work and where the ratio of the technically permissible maximum laden mass to the unladen mass of that vehicle is less than 3.0.

2.7.  “Non-road mobile machinery“:

Any mobile machine, transportable industrial equipment or vehicle with or without body work, not intended for the use of passenger-or goods-transport on the road, in which an internal combustion engine is installed.