Currently reading: European Commission to relax rules on tougher emissions regulations
A proposal by the European Commission would allow new cars to permanently exceed EU emissions limits by up to 50%
Darren Moss
2 mins read
29 October 2015

The European Commission is scaling back plans for tougher emissions legislation in Europe.

Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European Commissioner for industrial policy, has put forward proposals to dilute the plan to start testing real-world NOx emissions under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP).

The plan is meant to come into force in September 2017, replacing the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests which have been widely criticised in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Testing has shown that, in places, emissions discharges in real-world conditions are up to 500% higher than under laboratory conditions.

Bienkowska’s proposals would allow real-world NOx emissions to exceed limits by as much as 110% until January 2020. Earlier proposals allowed for a 60% overshoot until autumn 2019.

Cars would also be allowed to exceed EU limits - set to be 80g/km in 2020 - by up to 50% permanently. That means the actual real-world limit will be 120g/km in the EU, a target which is more achievable for the majority of car makers.

The EU’s Technical Committee for Motor Vehicles (TCMV) has already endorsed the revised legislation, but some politicians have labelled the proposal as “scandalous and cynical.”

Some have also been critical of the continued political clout held by vehicle manufacturers, with UK MEP Catherine Bearder saying: “This is a shameful stitch-up which once again puts the interests of car makers ahead of people’s health.”

In a statement, Bienkowska said: “The EU is the first and only region in the world to mandate these robust testing methods.

“And this is not the end of the story. We are working hard to present a proposal to strengthen the type-approval system and reinforce the independence of vehicle testing.”

The modified legislation still has to pass a vote by the European Parliament before it is mandated.

The pressure to significantly modify European testing procedures for NOx emissions has mounted in recent weeks in the wake of VW’s emissions scandal.

The scandal has shone a light on the fact that the majority of manufacturers struggle to meet current emissions limits with Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), telling MPs recently, “The [current] test cycle dates back to the early 1980s and the industry recognises it isn't fit for purpose.”

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29 October 2015
Just move the goal posts!

29 October 2015
xxxx wrote:

Just move the goal posts!

The article is unclear but as assuming the lab limits still the same we're talking about a change of the target from a reduction of 73% in emissions to a reduction of 65%.

That's hardly a major change for all the article writer tries to big it up with relative percentages. It would be nice if he'd gone out an interviewed some emissions experts about whether the original figure was achievable and whether the new one is more realistic or still too much too fast.

Obviously the whole thing about allowing a margin is nonsense and I wish they'd just raise the targets honestly but that's just image and as long as the reality is heading in the right direction I can live with them doing it that way.

29 October 2015
It begs the question if the emissions scandal had happened with a non-German manufacturer, would the EU have even considered a relaxation in the rules?

29 October 2015 go out and buy a diesel now...?

29 October 2015
How come BMW and Mercedes manage to pass the stricter California NOx regs with their diesels then, EU ? If they can, the other manufacturers can. The EU should adopt the stricter California regs for Europe.

29 October 2015
... was to bring all vehicular emissions down for the benefit of health and the environment and also to encourage car manufacturers to continually improve the emissions and fuel consumption performance of their cars.....

Moving the goal posts in this way is such a backward step, I can't believe they've even suggested it.

29 October 2015
This is a disgraceful climb down by the EU, just so diesel sales can remain at a high level, and protects the big EU manufactures. Why not bring in the tougher levels, and enforce them. People can buy petrol, gas, electric, or hybrids until such times as diesels can be brought into line. Why do we have to suffer the health penalty from Nox and particulates when alternatives exist?.....We still need proper independent tests however, and its time Autocar includes it as part of the road test. A recent BBC test showed a new Euro 6 Focus to be around 500% of the current levels in the real world, and this will still be well over double the levels the EU are proposing to allow. Its our health at stake. Just because we cant see NOx doesnt make it harmless!

29 October 2015
Are we talking about exceeding the CO2 limit, or are we talking about exceeding the figures for pollutants such as carbon monoxide, HC and NOX?
Either way, this climbdown shows the effect of powerful lobbying by the motor industry.

29 October 2015
Many a champagnes would be popping in Wolfsburg and Inglostadt tonight.

29 October 2015
The old targets I guess are based on the old test it would seem to make sense to review both. The article suggest cars that pass the current test are failing by 500% in the real world. By 2020 they will only fail by 110% which would be a massive improvement. The original target was probably based on what they could achieve rather than what was good for Health anyway.

Health! It's not like the world has a shortage of people and people living too long already!


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