Concerns over accuracy of test equipment means legally mandated NOx limit can be exceeded by more than 100%
3 February 2016

New real-world emissions test rules have been given the go-ahead by European Parliament despite stern opposition from critics who claim they are illegal.

The Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests are designed to measure pollutants including NOx in real-world driving conditions, and will eventually replace laboratory tests by the close of 2017. The plans were negotiated long before the current VW emissions scandal, but have received greater attention since.

However, opponents say the RDE regulations may violate existing EU law and called for the terms of testing to be renegotiated. This is because car makers and officials agreed a deal last autumn whereby there is an approved degree of flexibility in the results, to take account of potential inaccuracies in the testing equipment.

As a result, although NOx emissions limits will be set at 80mg/km, figures of 168mg/km will be acceptable for Euro 6 engines until 2021 and 120mg/km thereafter.

A proposal to throw out the plans and renegotiate the test processes from scratch was backed by 317 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and opposed by 323. A further 61 MEPs abstained - with a majority of 51 votes having been needed to block the bill.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, which represents car makers, said: “Manufacturers welcome the much-needed clarity and are eager to move forward by implementing the new testing conditions as soon the regulation is adopted.”

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder countered: “Today was a good day for dirty deals and a bad day for cleaner air but the close vote shows there remains strong opposition to the weakening of emission limits.”

The UK government is reportedly in favour of the RDE regulations.

While the vote does not formally ratify the new regulations, it did represent the last significant hurdle before they are passed. The European Environmental Agency estimates air pollution kills 400,000 people in the EU every year, with NOx emissions from cars a major contributor to this.

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Comments
11

3 February 2016

So from now on the world will know that in Europe 80 means 186. We are living in some seriously twisted times. Why can't we just set the limits at 186mg/km instead of the totally unfeasible 86. Who are we kidding?

4 February 2016

So we go to a limit of 168 v the current US limit of 32 g/km (50g/mile), surely more jobs would have been created with a rapid shift to petrol/petrol hybrids ? The new BMW 330E shows what can be done. At the cheaper end of the scale, tax breaks for Kei car style petrols like the Honda S660 would be great, especially if we could agree to line up Kei car regulations with the Japanese eg on safety etc.

4 February 2016
Mark168 wrote:

So we go to a limit of 168 v the current US limit of 32 g/km (50g/mile), surely more jobs would have been created with a rapid shift to petrol/petrol hybrids ? The new BMW 330E shows what can be done. At the cheaper end of the scale, tax breaks for Kei car style petrols like the Honda S660 would be great, especially if we could agree to line up Kei car regulations with the Japanese eg on safety etc.

Meanwhile about 30.000 Americans die every year through gunshots and about the same through traffic accidents.
Although the US has lower Nox limits than the EU the biggest selling vehicles in the USA are what they call trucks that are exempt from those quoted low Nox limits.
Gasoline in the USA is not subject to taxes such as in the UK where the tax on petrol and diesel is almost 300% on the retai price. Without tax petroi is only about 25p per litre in the UK.

4 February 2016

Isn't it more important that we get the measurement right first and worry about limits later? Once every car is measured properly, and the figures published, the limits will kind of set themselves. Requiring every manufacturer to prominently publish the emissions with a 'traffic light' system would encourage them to go green. Eventually penalties would have to be imposed and too-high limits would have to result in a no-sale ban. But first, get the measurement sorted out.

4 February 2016
androo wrote:

Isn't it more important that we get the measurement right first and worry about limits later? Once every car is measured properly, and the figures published, the limits will kind of set themselves. Requiring every manufacturer to prominently publish the emissions with a 'traffic light' system would encourage them to go green. Eventually penalties would have to be imposed and too-high limits would have to result in a no-sale ban. But first, get the measurement sorted out.

Completely agree with your argument.
It is no good bitching about why we are where we are, just produce a testing regime that broadly equates to reality. Then consumers and legislators can set taxes to reduce emissions in whateer direction they wish.
Until we have the facts we cannot even argue for improvements.

4 February 2016

I think the issue with any Real Driving Emissions test, is that because the test is carried out on the road with portable equipment and a "real" driver, roads, weather etc, then the test itself is relatively uncontrolled with large fluctuations possible in the results. It may be that the introduction of the RDE "test" is a retrograde step, and that it would have been better to try and achieve more accurate simulations of real driving in the laboratory.

4 February 2016

Well if you believe all the hype it will be EV autonomous cars by 2021. I'm hoping to go EV with my next car moving from a 2.5 petrol. Is there more to the drop in oil price!

4 February 2016

Why doesnt Europe simply use the Californian regs ? - theyre the strictest in the world.

4 February 2016

The real problem in Europe varies from country to country. In France and Spain the pollution is from a large number of old diesel cars some over 20 years in daily use. In Italy it is the same but with the addition of old scooters and bikes. In the UK our problem is not with car's or van's or even lorries it is the bus that is the cause of more than half of the nox and particulate pollution in our cities. There's a couple of reasons for this one is that buses tend to have a lifespan of between 15 to 20 years meaning a lot of even euro 1 spec engines still in use every day. The second one is that the way a bus is used means that the catalyst and emissions control doesn't work properly on the new one's, the exhaust system has to be very hot for it to work and all the stop start and idilling means it never gets hot enough to work. On a hybrid bus it is even worse as the engine is cold from all the time it shuts down. This might even shock some but the engine in a hybrid bus is not even emissions checked at the mot as it is classified as a generator because it's not driving the bus the electric motor is. Funny thing Is that the same engine is used in the normal bus and does get checked. From a 20 year bus mechanic.

K. M

4 February 2016

The combustin motor isnt checked at the MOT because its considered a generator? Surely not? What's the point in having a hybrid if the combustion motor backing it up can belch anything it likes ?

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