Advanced Diesels Could Be Winners in EU Test Regulation

Independent vehicle emission testing bodies could play a key role in consumer choices thanks to a change in European Union regulations.

Ironically, while many will see this as a possible extra impetus to drive EV sales, in the short-term the standard could see a reversal of fortune for advanced diesel powertrains which boast among the best NOx levels on the market and more than 15% less CO2 emissions than equivalent gasoline motors.

A testing methodology has been devised by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) called the CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA 17379 produced by CEN Workshop 90), which takes into consideration on-road tests capturing emissions data from different independent test centers so that the data collected will allow the emissions performance of vehicles to be fairly compared. The standard will be applied to a wide range of different vehicles meaning that it could form a valuable complement to the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation.

The standard comes following dialogue between more than 40 scientists, consumer groups, policy makers, engineers and NGOs which helped to reach a consensus on criteria which must be followed during the tests ensuring that they are valid and repeatable across multiple instances of the same vehicle captured using portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) equipment. It stipulates results must include at least two matching examples of each model during three separate journeys, including at least five 10km (6 miles) trips conducted on paved roads, at an average speed between 20kmh (12mph) and 40kmh (24mph).

Welcoming the move, Massimo Fedeli, co-founder and operations director of lobby group Allow Independent Road-testing (AIR) said: “This a landmark day for independent testing of vehicle emissions. The CEN Workshop Agreement 17379 reflects more than a year of collaboration to reach alignment on the methodology to report the actual NOx emissions from vehicles in urban driving, so that consumers can buy the cleanest car, based on scientific fact. Only when armed with such information can policy makers in cities and governments create fair and effective rules to tackle urban air quality problems.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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