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Car industry reacts to new real-world emissions testing plan

Date: 30 October 2015   |   Author:

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has confirmed its commitment to cooperating with the first stage of real-world emissions testing, which is due to come into force in September 2017 for newly introduced vehicles. This comes after a meeting between the European Commission's regulatory committee and member states on Wednesday.

Member states yesterday voted in favour of challenging testing standards that have been described by the ACEA as "extremely difficult for automobile manufacturers to reach in a short space of time."

Consequently, a substantial number of diesel cars are likely to have to be phased out earlier than initially planned, which the ACEA cites as having the potential to cause "serious economic implications", while making it much harder for car manufacturers to comply with 2021 CO2 targets, as diesel engines typically emit 15-20% lower CO2 emissions than comparable petrol models.

Reiterating the importance of replacing lab testing with real-world tests, the ACEA states that new testing protocols are intended "to bridge the gap between the current regulated testing of emissions using an outdated laboratory test and the very different conditions experienced on the road." To accommodate the impact of driving on real roads, a 'conformity factor' is also due to be used to set specific emissions limits that cannot be exceeded.

"RDE [Real Driving Emissions] testing of cars on real roads under realistic driving conditions will be a new addition to the existing test requirements, making Europe the only region in the world to implement such real-world testing for cars," stated ACEA secretary general, Erik Jonnaert.

While current European taxation revolves around reducing CO2 emissions - in an attempt to address greenhouse gas emissions - the new system is intended to make sure that air quality isn't forgotten in the pursuit of lower CO2 emissions, claims Jonnaert: "The automobile industry is ready to engage with Europe's policy makers to examine how to reconcile higher air quality standards with ambitious climate change policies."