Tougher NOx tests urged

4th November 2015


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Author

Alastair Mason

Campaigners and MEPs have urged an EU committee to reject proposals by the European commission that would allow the motor industry to exceed limits on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in real-world emissions (RDE) tests.

They claim the car industry is continuing to lobby for weak rules on testing even after the revelations that VW cheated emissions tests, highlighting flaws in the system.

The EU technical committee on motor vehicles (TMCV) was due to decide on the commission's proposal as the environmentalist went to press. Real-world testing has been in discussion since the Euro 6 emissions regulations were agreed in 2007. The regulation stipulates that vehicles should not emit more than 80mg/km of NOx in normal road conditions.

Under current plans, implementation of the RDE testing rules will be phased in between September 2017 and September 2019. The commission's proposal allows manufacturers to exceed NOx limits through "conformity factors" (CF). It has suggested a CF of 1.6 during the implementation period, which would in effect set the NOx limit at 128mg/km. This would reduce the CF to 1.185 or 95mg/km from September 2019.

Submissions by member states on the commission's proposals seen by campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) reveal that some countries are lobbying for even higher conformity factors. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) wants a CF of 2.75. It argues that the RDE package must be technically and economically realistic. Eric Jonnaert, secretary general of ACEA, said manufacturers need to plan for the changes without risking the role of diesel in cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Greg Archer, vehicles programme manager at T&E, said: "Given the urgency to regain the credibility lost because of the VW scandal, a clear and ambitious timetable for the introduction of RDE must be agreed."


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