European Commission scientists have uncovered evidence of carmakers manipulating the results of a new test for CO2 emissions, documents obtained by Transport & Environment show. Less than three years after the Dieselgate NOx emissions scandal, the car industry is now inflating its CO2/fuel economy results, which could reduce the stringency of its 2025 CO2 targets by more than half.  In this way they will be able to sell fewer electric cars and more diesel vehicles while still hitting their targets.
The increase in UK new car CO2 emissions by 0.8% in 2017 reported by the UK industry arises mainly from a shift to larger SUV and dual-purpose vehicles rather than from declining diesel sales that the UK car industry association (SMMT) claims.
A typical driver spends €549 a year more on fuel than official figures claim and the use of these “alternative facts” must end says the pan-European campaign Get Real – Demand fuel figures you can trust that is being launched today. Setup by Germany’s Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and Brussels-based European Federation for Transport & Environment (T&E), the online tool get-real.org highlights the costs and environmental impact of cars guzzling fuel. The campaign encourages consumers and politicians to demand realistic fuel consumption figures from carmakers.
Europe’s largest association of car drivers, the German ADAC, has said a 75g per km CO2 emissions limit for new cars from 2025 would be consistent with current trends. The ADAC also said so-called ‘supercredits’ for makers of low-emission vehicles do nothing to reduce overall climate changing emissions.
Today two new car emissions tests come into force. They are: the new RDE (Real-Driving Emissions) test for diesel NOx emissions and particulate numbers from gasoline cars; and the new WLTP (World Light Duty Test Protocol) for CO2 emissions.
Testing of air pollution from cars in real-driving conditions is continuing to improve, according to the EU’s research institute. The gap between NOx emissions recorded in lab tests and on-road tests is, at most, 32% in the worst cases, it found. T&E said it sends a strong message to the European Commission to keep its promise and finally remove the ‘licence to pollute’ given to carmakers in the middle of the Dieselgate scandal.
Advertised and on-road fuel consumption figures continue to drift apart: over the last 10 years, the gap has tripled to more than 40%. Demanding fuel figures you can trust, Germany’s Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and Transport & Environment (T&E) have launched their pan-European campaign with the online tool get-real.org. The website highlights the carmakers’ tricks to manipulate fuel consumption tests as well as costs and the environmental impact of cars guzzling ever more fuel.
As diesel sales slump and those of electric vehicles pass one million, batteries are fast becoming a major part of the EU’s industrial future. It is not just talk this time. Investment is happening: LG Chem is planning for production in Poland and Samsung SDI is doing likewise in Hungary; NorthVolt has just signed a large loan to build a demo plant in Sweden, and Saft, a subsidiary of Total, announced a battery consortium with Siemens, Solvay and MAN. Amidst all this, the environmental benefits of electric cars are under intense scrutiny with news articles on this a regular feature in most EU countries. So, do electric cars reduce car CO2 emissions or do they just shift the problem elsewhere?
The EU’s air quality laws are failing. That is the conclusion of two reports, one by the EU’s Court of Auditors into ambient air quality standards and monitoring, the other by T&E that shows the number of polluting diesel vehicles is growing, and that even new cars that pass emissions tests in real driving conditions are pumping out dangerous levels of pollutants.
The report shows that the CO2 emissions gap between the independently performed WLTP and NEDC tests is small, and suggests the new WLTP test procedure is likely not sufficient to reduce or close the gap between official and real-world CO2 emissions. The report also stresses the lack of transparency about vehicle data, which complicates the analysis of independent tests and makes possible cheating harder to detect.