A solution to the long-standing confusion over how much pollution cars really emit is being pioneered by the cities of London and Paris. A new scheme, in which T&E is a partner, will measure real-world emissions from cars and make them available to the public via a special website. The mayor of Paris described the scheme as ‘not anti-car, just anti-pollution’.
New powers for the European Commission to spot check cars on the road and properly scrutinise national regulators over enforcement of safety and emissions rules have received an overwhelming backing of MEPs. The European Parliament supported a raft of proposals to further strengthen the Commission's original proposal for the reform of vehicles type approval. However, parliamentarians rejected the establishment of an EU testing regulator, which T&E said would have ensured a Dieselgate scandal could never happen again.
The demise of diesel engines in Europe’s car fleet will continue following announcements affecting Barcelona and Munich. Barcelona will ban all cars older than 20 years old from 2019, while a court has ordered Munich to develop plans by the end of this year for banning diesel-fuelled cars.
MEPs continue to pave the way for the final vote in the European Parliament on establishing a EU agency to spot check cars on the road. After the environment committee’s vote in favour, the Dieselgate inquiry committee has now also backed a car surveillance agency. Meanwhile European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker indicated his support for the establishment of a EU testing agency to avoid another Dieselgate scandal. However, obstacles remain as some member states are reluctant.
MEPs from the internal market committee (IMCO) became the latest group to back reform of the flawed and obsolete type approval system for cars which is at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal. The vote came as details emerged of special treatment for Fiat vehicles in tests conducted by Italy’s official investigation into Dieselgate.
A new UK government report has cast doubt on the short-term benefits of driverless cars. The Department for Transport study predicts a “decline in network performance” once one in four cars become driverless. It said early models of the vehicles acted more cautiously and the result could be a “potential decrease in effective capacity” on motorways and A roads. The study did, however, note that should driverless vehicles make up between 50% and 75%, they will reduce congestion.
New real-world emissions tests for modern petrol engines have been backed by EU governments. However, the tests will allow a conformity factor of 50%, meaning new petrol cars will be allowed to exceed current limits on particulate emissions by half – to take account of uncertainties in the test procedure. Governments agreed to stick with the September 2018 proposed date for all new cars to comply with the rules.
National regulators failed to implement the existing rules on vehicle emissions testing, thus paving the way for the Dieselgate scandal, a parliamentary investigation has found. Members of the European Parliament's Dieselgate enquiry identified three main failures by the national authorities in charge of testing new vehicles before they could be sold: failure to independently test cars in order to verify their performance on the road; failure to search for illegal defeat devices despite clear obligations to do so; and failure to put in place and apply dissuasive penalties on carmakers.
By Greg Archer, clean vehicles directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: After many false dawns, 2016 is the year electric cars showed they are on a path to rapidly replacing the infernal combustion engine. There are now more than half a million battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Europe’s roads, and annual sales are expected to top 1.5% of the market for the first time. While the figures are modest, Dieselgate has created an EV earthquake, shaking carmakers from their complacency.
by Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles and air quality managerWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: In response to the Dieselgate scandal, 2016 started with a bang with the Commission’s type approval proposal to reform the EU’s failed system of vehicle testing. The European Parliament also flexed its muscles by refusing to accept the new on-road tests for NOx emissions that doubled and delayed the agreed Euro 6 limits – peace only breaking out when the Commission promised to make the limits stricter in the future. EU policymakers also agreed the new air quality law, the National Emission Ceilings Directive to limit the emissions from member states – although the final outcome was deeply disappointing.