The European Commission is set to present its recommendations for heavily revised procedures for vehicle emissions testing next week, Autocar has learned.
A scheduled meeting of the EU’s Technical Committee for Motor Vehicles is due to sit on October 6 and, although the agenda is yet to be made public, the VW emissions scandal is reported to have put a focus on the need to ratify new emissions tests regulations as soon as possible.
Changes to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests have been discussed for several years, but discussions between the law makers and car companies over the exact details have resulted in lengthy delays. The NEDC was last updated in 1997. Under NEDC regulations, cars are tested in a laboratory under strict test criteria in order to achieve repeatable results for comparison. However, those results are rarely achievable in real-world driving.
Features of the NEDC that detract from its real-world accuracy include the temperature range in which the test is conducted, which is always between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade, the use of a flat rolling road and the absence of any wind in the test chamber, other than air directed at cooling ducts to simulate speed. The route simulated is a mix of urban and open driving, with the top speed achieved between 90 and 120kph (56-75mph) depending on the size of the vehicle.
Prior to VW the scandal, the Commission was set to finalise proposals for a more realistic test process later this month, with the new regulations coming into force in 2017. However, the VW test rigging controversy is reported to be seen as a catalyst for quicker change, with some reporting that the new tests could even come into force in early 2016.
The new tests are called the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) and define a global standard for emissions testing. They have been drawn up with consultation from the European Union, Japan, and India under guidelines of UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. In conjunction, a new set of standards are also being set under the Real Driving Emissions standard.
A Mercedes statement released in the wake of the VW scandal read: "We actively support the work being done within Europe and Germany in order to develop new testing methods which measure emissions based on real driving conditions."
PSA's statement said: "In the spirit of improving air quality, PSA supports introducing the new procedure WLTP plus RDE from September 2017 in its most demanding version, to replace the current European approval procedure NEDC, which is not representative of real customer use."
The statement also underlined that the PSA group’s vehicles all fully meet regulations at present, and underlined the positive real-world emissions and economy results of its latest range of Euro 6 compliant engines. It read: “PSA’s Research & Development Department reaffirms that PSA complies with the approval procedures in effect in all countries where it operates, and that engine settings, assuming the same conditions of use, are identical whether for approval procedures or in real life.
“Further, PSA notes that the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system installed on all its Euro 6 diesel vehicles produces variances that are among the lowest in the automotive industry between approved emissions and those arising from customer use.”