Real world emissions tests cannot come soon enough - as inquiry shows most cars more dangerous than claimed

News from Brake

22 April 2016

  • Tests reveal some emissions 12 times the recommended level
  • Average emissions five time higher on the road than in the lab 

Brake is urging the government to make sure there are no delays to the implementation of new ‘real world’ car emissions (RDE) tests scheduled for introduction in 2017. It’s after shocking results from an investigation across the whole industry by the Department for Transport[i]. This was started in the wake of the VW emissions scandal when it was revealed many of their diesel cars’ emissions tests were rigged.

The DfT investigation saw 37 cars tested, and found levels of pollution were much higher on the road that they are in the laboratory. Not a single model met the EU lab NOx limit in real-world testing. The average emissions were five times higher than they should be and some cars’ NOx levels were 12 times higher.

During the tests, no other car manufacturer was found to be using any device that cheats the emissions tests, as was the case for Volkswagen.Although this week, it emerged that Mitsubishi Motors incorrectly measured fuel efficiency data across a range of its models. [ii]

The tests revealed that most vehicles perform very differently in laboratory testing than they do in real life on-the-road driving conditions. This is because of the widespread use of “engine management systems” which kick in to prevent engine damage in certain circumstances, but can lead to much higher emissions in real world temperature conditions than the cooler temperatures in the approved lab test.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We’re backing the introduction of these tests. I want the government to ensure that testing is rigorously enforced and tough action taken when vehicles do not make the grade.

“If car manufacturers are serious about protecting the environment they must cut the poison currently being pumped out of their vehicles.  The World Health Organisation describes air pollution as a public health emergency and estimates that one in eight worldwide deaths (seven million premature deaths a year) are due to air pollution, with transport being a major contributory factor. Consumers are fast losing confidence with car manufacturers. Many drivers believe they have been cheated into buying diesel vehicles.”

More about the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test[iii] from the DfT report

“We have pushed hard to ensure that Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests will apply to new models that are to be sold from 2017 within the European Union. The RDE agreement makes type approval requirements for vehicles significantly more stringent, with the greatest impact expected for diesel NOx emissions. Manufacturers will continue to have to meet the limits in laboratory tests but will also have to improve their real-world emissions control to meet the RDE requirements. The new European legislation requires manufacturers to ensure real-world emissions are maintained below 2.1 times the lab-testing limit from 2017 and are at or below the limit by 2020 (with a 0.5 margin for measurement uncertainty).”

Gary Rae has blogged about the emissions scandal in a personal capacity.

Read his thoughts here:

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.





Tags: Department for Transport government emissions pollution