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Realistic real-world driving emissions tests: a last chance for diesel cars?

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Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road. 

Tackling real world emissions from cars

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

Light duty vehicles (LDVs) emit more pollutants on the road than in laboratory conditions. In order to solve this problem the Commission decided to introduce complementary type-approval procedures to measure gaseous and particulate emissions during real driving to make sure that they are similar to legal emission limits. To achieve this, the Real-Driving Emissions-Light Duty Vehicles (RDE-LDV) working group was created in 2011. Work in this group is currently focused on RDE tests during initial type approval.

This paper has been prepared by T&E to aid the work of this group. The paper considers the main topics of discussion: data analysis methods, boundary conditions, conformity factor, equipment (portable emissions measurement system – PEMS) and scope.