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Europe Poised to Implement Real-World Emissions Tests

September 11, 2015

The European Commission will require “real world” vehicle emission tests beginning in 2017. Emissions approval for passenger cars in Europe will then include mandatory on-the-road tests using a portable emissions measurement system – the first time NOx will be measured outside of a laboratory, according to Emissions Analytics.

Although Euro 6 standards adopted last year trimmed NOx emissions by more than 50 percent, test data clearly shows wide variations between laboratory results and actual real-world vehicle emissions, according to Nick Molden, CEO of UK-based Emissions Analytics.

In a recent project sponsored by the London Sunday Times, for example, Emissions Analytics data shows that Euro 6 diesel cars actually produced NOx emissions 4.4 times higher than the legal European Commission standards.

Molden noted that the call for “real-world” emissions data actually could spark further meaningful reductions in vehicle emissions.

“Our research indicates that Euro 6 diesel passenger-car engines have shown a 49 percent reduction in NOx emissions compared to Euro 5 diesels,” he says. “We believe automakers anticipated the tougher requirements and really stepped up their game with regard to emissions. The early results are encouraging, yet we also feel they are mixed.”
Emissions Analytics provides on-road vehicle emissions measurement and analysis. Its services include benchmark tests, product evaluation and real-world fuel consumption. It measures all regulated pollutants including CO (carbon monoxide), CO2 (carbon dioxide), NO, NO2 (mono-nitrogen oxides), total hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

As the leading provider of real-world emissions data, Emissions said it has Analytics has compiled test results on more than 1,000 vehicles, including more than 400 diesel-powered cars.

Although its recent Euro 6 diesel tests showed marked improvement in NOx emissions, those vehicles still scored NOx levels more than four times higher than the legal limit of 0.08g/km. Nevertheless it was a significant improvement over last year’s International Council on Clean Transportation report showing that Euro 6 diesels produced NOx emissions that were on average 7.1 times higher than legal limits, according to Emissions Analytics.

Molden pointed out that a more uniform way of testing all auto manufacturers is eminent in Europe with a recently-approved Real Driving Emissions (RDE) procedure designed to eliminate the discrepancy between lab testing and results from real-world, on-road testing.

“We think this is a good decision by the European Commission and member states,” Molden added. “We started testing tailpipe emissions on the road four years ago. Based on our test results, we’ve felt strongly that this is the only way to truly understand real-world performance. It is good to see this method is now being recognized as a result of the action taken by the commission. However, compliance will need to be monitored especially throughout the life of the vehicle.”

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