The NEDC tests occur in labs around the world that the manufacturers and engineers know from back to front and top to bottom, with very specific inputs from the (trained) drivers. There’s no traffic; there are no changes in road conditions or surfaces. Some of the approved acceleration rates are so slow that hybrid cars can do chunks of the cycle running on electricity alone. The official test is all about consistency, not relevance - and to a limited extent, that makes sense.
What’s occurred, though, over the past few days is a dreadful blurring of the lines between CO2 emissions and the NOx test that caught out VW in the United States. And the government has fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
Let’s hypothesise about what’s going to happen, then. The government spends a pile of tax-payers’ money investigating emissions tests. It concludes that cars rarely live up to their economy, CO2 or NOx figures when they’re being driven in the real world - but that this is down to lots of clever engineers having acute understanding of a flawed test procedure instead of them blatantly cheating.
As a result of this additional research, the government calls for the EU to hasten the reform of the NEDC test so it more accurately reflects real-world driving. The EU informs the government that it’s already doing this. We spend a lot. We learn remarkably little. And what’s going to happen, er, happens anyway. Make sense to you? No, me neither.
Read more on the Volkswagen emissions scandal:
How the Volkswagen story unfolded
How VW's 'defeat device' works
VW board anticipates more top-line casualties
European cars are affected, says German minister
PSA Peugeot Citroën leads calls for tougher emissions test procedures
Your key questions answered
BMW - why the X5 complied with independent US emissions test
Blog - The VW Scandal and the growing dangers of its ripple effect
Blog - VW's scandal has put the entire motor industry under pressure
Blog - Winterkorn pays a high price
Blog - the emissions scandal could sink Volkswagen's US ambitions
Blog - are we about to see the death of diesel?
Blog - VW's US boss faces the music
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