Possible regulations in the wake of the emissions scandal include independent testing houses and fines for those caught using defeat devices
9 June 2016

New legislation for both the European Union and the UK, in response to the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, will tighten rules on vehicle type approval and emissions testing.

Measures proposed for the EU would require better policing of type approval procedures and audits of vehicle test houses by both experts from EU member states and the European Commission itself, as well as regular inspections by national type approval authorities, which themselves would be subject to periodic peer review.

Testing houses would also become more independent, and not be allowed to receive money from vehicle manufacturers to test cars and components. Instead, fees will be paid by manufacturers to EU member states and then paid out to the testing houses.

If manufacturers offer fake declarations or use a defeat device similar to that used by Volkswagen, they could face a fine of up to €30,000 – similar to the $37,500 penalties available under the USA’s Clean Air Act. Test houses could also be fined.

The UK government is forming a new market surveillance unit with a particular focus on emissions. It will combine elements of the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). It will have an annual budget of £1m and also look at spare parts like tyres and catalytic converters.

The details emerged in a series of letters published this month by the House of Commons Transport Committee. In them, Louise Ellman MP, chair of the committee, describes the current legal framework that governs emissions testing as “unfit for purpose”, particularly when it comes to enforcing the rules. This follows Volkswagen’s ability to cheat government vehicle type approval using software that recognised when a vehicle was being tested and reduce the car’s emissions levels accordingly.

Antti Peltomäki, the deputy director-general of the European Commission’s enterprise department, responded to Ellman’s criticism by outlining how the new legislation should improve matters.Only Volkswagen has been found to have used defeat devices to get around emissions test regulations, but tests in the UK and Germany showed vehicles from several other manufacturers produced considerably higher emissions in the real world than in lab test conditions.

Much of this was due to exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems, which reduce NOx emissions, but only work in low-temperature ranges and switch off when the engine gets hotter. Current EU regulations allow this is the switch off is to prevent damage to the engine – a loophole that UK transport minister Robert Goodwill described as “a major weakness in the current system and one that need attention.”

A new European Commission method of measuring emissions, called Real Driving Emissions (RDE), will come into force across the EU from September 2017. RDE incorporates a dynamic vehicle test that measures emissions over several different types of road, in a range ambient temperatures and with a variety of occupants and loads.

Goodwill told Ellman that the RDE test will likely force manufacturers to change their EGR systems to work between -7°C and 35°C.

The EC is also re-evaluating the 1999 Car Labelling Directive to decide whether to include information on air pollutants for customers of new cars. The results of the evaluation will be announced in July.

Phill Tromans

Additional reporting by Gareth Simkins

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Comments
10

9 June 2016
I wonder if these Real Driving Emissions tests are going to include emissions generated at power stations for electric and hybrid cars. Those Tesla have big batteries and in the UK burns much coal and gas, producing substantial quantities of CO2, NOx and PM's with national implications, rather than purely local and to be honest mostly London. I am not in favouring of tax rates for electric cars which use more energy than say a Ford Fiesta (with petrol or diesel) and ultimately create more pollution. Or are we saving that problem for ten years in the future as we did with diesels?

9 June 2016
For starters, no electric car uses more energy than a Ford Fiesta. Even a Model X is rated at 89-94 MPGe.

Secondly, for a car getting 3.1 miles/kWh (gentle driving in a Model X, lead foot in an i3), the average UK grid mix gives 72g/km CO2. British Gas gives 48. Charge from a renewables specialist or your own solar panels and it's 0g/km.

As for NOx/PM, these are by definition local pollutants, and EVs alleviate the problem by shifting some or all of those emissions outside residential areas. Or give you the option of eliminating them altogether with renewables and nuclear.

9 June 2016
Other than to add: Where do you think all of the energy to get oil refined into petrol and diesel comes from? Coal fired powered stations for every refinery in the UK.

9 June 2016
Its STILL not enough - the EU needs to test manufacturer's vehicles themselves, NOT leave it to the manufacturers, this is asking for trouble, plus we need DPFs and SCR mandated from yesterday for ALL diesel vehicles, the EU should adopt California-strict diesel emissions standards and retro fit existing vehicles with more up to date emissions equipment, anything less means that no one in Europe really cars about diesel emissions.

9 June 2016
Agree with the point about solar panels, but only if you are not connected to the grid. Otherwise you still draw power from the grid, and therefore produce emissions based on the national energy mix. From my research based on green car website, an electric car produces less CO2 than petrol or diesel vehicles, but produces more NOX and PMs than petrol but less tan diesel. A tesla will use more energy over 10000 miles with similar driving styles than a focus (normal not STi) simply because it is less powerful. and ower is energy used of time, thus more energy is used faster than in a powerful tesla compared to a focus fiesta. Elefctric engines claim to be 90 % efficient - this is likely true. Power stations are not, nor is transimitting energy. IN the long term, the gris will get cleaner, thus cancelling these out, but an electric motor is just a tiny part of a much bigger system that can be so hard to see. And yes, definitely better not produced in the city, so electric is still far better. Just not as clean as is claimed.

9 June 2016
topsecret456987 wrote:

A tesla will use more energy over 10000 miles with similar driving styles than a focus (normal not STi) simply because it is less powerful. and ower is energy used of time, thus more energy is used faster than in a powerful tesla compared to a focus fiesta

This makes no sense.

9 June 2016
"The UK government is forming a new market surveillance unit with a particular focus on emissions. It will combine elements of the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). It will have an annual budget of £1m and also look at spare parts like tyres and catalytic converters."

That will be used up by chief execs pay and other expenses so not much will happen at the sharp end Another wasted initiative

9 June 2016
how and why did this immediately turn to electric cars? ecotricity website shows (almost) live reading of uk electricity generation, and the emissions thereof. bored on a sunday morning i worked out the co2 g/km for a model s, charged from full and driven for the range people say they actually get; 65 g/km. as far as refining the oil for the power station is concern, the point is void by the fact that petrol and diesel are obtained by the same process. if it's then delivered to the power plant by pipeline it's arguably better. also, before you start about battery production, don't forget what engines and gearboxes are made from and where that comes from. can we move on?
manufacturing emissions are at least as much of a problem as exhaust/generation emissions.

10 June 2016
which means it will not likely be in force for between 5 and 10 years. It will get watered down during the Commission stages by unelected bureaucrats implementing the wishes of vested interests like the German car industry. If it ever does come into force the penalties will be weak and no deterrent to huge conglomerates. The best thing is for Parliament to enact legislation which can come into force very quickly and which has proper punitive sanctions. The Government should also change the VED, Fuel Duty and BiK tax regimes to make it unattractive for drivers to buy diesels unless they drive over 20000 miles a year.

10 June 2016
Thus they will be immune to those changes.

Dunno who regulate power plants in UK, but that agency will have bigger say.

Unlike car regulators, it will also be able to affect change on already existing emission sources.

Not to mention those people who simply skip grid altogether and go solar (due to better ROI due to higher electricity usage).

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