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European Union a step closer to introducing air pollution vehicle test

Date: 22 May 2015   |   Author:

The European Union has come a step closer to introducing 'real world' air pollution tests for cars and vans in September 2017 that will measure NOx emissions alongside a more accurate CO2 emissions test.

The EU has agreed to a new test procedure starting in 2017 which requires vehicles to be tested on the road and in traffic, rather than in laboratory-like conditions as is currently the case.

This should provide more accurate, 'real world' NOx emission figures for diesel cars and better represent the benefits of the latest Euro 6 diesel engines.

Manufactures have said the new 'Real Driving Emissions' test will bring major changes to the way new vehicles are tested and developed.tJonnaert, secretary General of ACEA 

The European Commission and member states still need to agree what the limits for the real world tests will be and whether they can be introduced by 2017. The Commission already has plans to bring in a new, more accurate CO2 test cycle in 2017 - the World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP).

The announcement from the EU has been welcomed by the BVRLA.

Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, said: "Air pollution is a major threat to public health so it is vital that we can accurately measure the part played by road transport, particularly diesel vehicles.

"Over the years, the fleet sector has made excellent progress in driving down CO2 emissions. I am convinced that it can have a similar impact on NOx emissions if it is given accurate information and an appropriate tax regime."

Keaney said the agreement on a new test was an important milestone in helping Europe get to grips with the issue of road transport based air pollution.

The ACEA, the vehicle manufacturer association for Europe, wants more detail and clarity from the European Commission on changes to the test in order to be ready for September 2017.

Erik Jonnaert, secretary General of ACEA said: "ACEA calls on the Commission to urgently deliver a complete proposal for Real Driving Emissions by June or July at the latest for a positive decision in the regulatory committee.

"We need to make more progress on clarifying all testing conditions to ensure a robust RDE regulation could commence from September 2017.

"Automobile manufacturers remain concerned about the piecemeal approach the Commission is taking in preparing this proposal. This is not smart regulation. We need clarity in advance so that we can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with the new requirements."

Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the new air quality test rules.

François Cuenot, air pollution officer at T&E, said: "T&E is delighted that the Commission and member states have taken this important step to tackle air pollution from diesel. Europe now needs to fully enforce the new rules from 2017 to bring an end to dirty diesels."