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DUH charges that Renault Espace diesel emits 13-25 times Euro 6 NOx limit; Renault disputes

The 1.6-liter Renault Espace diesel is the latest vehicle to come in the emissions crosshairs of German environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). DUH published results of emissions testing by the University of Bern showing that NOx emissions from New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) driven tests with a warm engine exceed the applicable limit for Euro 6 vehicles 13- to 25-fold.

Renault immediately issued a statement disputing the Umwelthilfe findings, and asserted that Espace complies with applicable regulations, just as do all Renault vehicles.

NEDC results (raw results without deterioration factor). Euro 6 limit is 80 mg/km. Source: DUH, University of Bern. Click to enlarge.

The report from the University of Bern says 9 cycles were driven on the dyno with the Renault Espace, 8 of them NEDC. The NEDC measurements differed mainly with regard to the vehicle condition (cold or hot) and the preconditioning (1 x NEDC or 3 x EUDC).

During the tests, the following conditions were changed:

  • Measurements were performed with cold and warm engine states.

  • Before each NEDC measured, either one NEDC or three repetitions of the extra-urban part of the NEDC (EUDC) was driven. In order to measure the NEDC cold, the vehicle was conditioned the day before.

  • The roller dynamometer can be operated in two different modes: 2WD or 4WD. In the 4- wheel drive mode (4WD), the rear wheels rotate at the same speed as the front wheels. In 2-wheel drive mode (2WD), the two rear wheels are stationary. In both modes, the load is on the front axle and identical.

In addition to the NEDC cycle, the University of Bern team used a custom cycle specified by DUH. This cycle starts with three low-speed levels. In the process, the velocities of 20, 35 and 45 km/h were kept constant for 5 minutes each time. The speed is then accelerated to the final speed of 150 km/h with the same constant acceleration as shown in cycle 1. This speed is maintained for 120 seconds. The speed is, however, reduced analogously to the starting procedure but in reverse order, with the same speeds levels.

The measured NOx values of 6 NEDC cycles exceeded the Euro 6 limit of 80 mg/km by significant amounts: up to 2061 mg/km in the worst case. Two tests showed values lower than 80 mg/km.

Renault said that the test procedures used by the University of Bern are not all compliant with European regulations. The report shows important variations in test findings which are not conclusive and require “additional measurements”, the company added.

Renault also said it is endeavoring to understand the tests in detail especially in light of the findings published in August 2015 by the independent German institute ADAC which tested the Espace model and concluded that it complied with regulations.

DUH has filed enforcement actions against German cities in which NO2 limits are exceeded persistently. The DUH calls for, among other things, prohibiting the entry of diesel vehicles as long as there is no evidence that these comply with the applicable Euro emission limits.



First VW, then Peugot, now Renault.  The entire industry had the same technological issues, and it looks like they all hit on more or less the same solution:  cheat.


But why is only VW being hammered?


VW is the one we're hearing about; neither Peugot nor Renault sell much in the USA.

Trevor Carlson

Therein lies the rub. If your testing doesn't reflect actual usage then it's easier to cheat. The regulations should be scrapped and re-designed so that a few variables could be changed (to reflect actual usage) and the vehicle should still meet the regulations. Obviously with current technology the regulations are too specific and differentiated from actual usage scenarios as to be baseless. Instead of subsidizing and taxing various fuels at various rates and creating different emissions regulations for different fuel, the rules could and should be simplified to allow the market to figure out the best solution.
Or you could tax fuels based on the likelihood that the nations fleet is compliant to emissions regulations and let the markets correct themselves in real time. The demand for gasoline and hybrid cars would rocket and the resale on diesel cars would drop (for now). As the fleet of old diesels become worthless they'll get scrapped out sooner and improve the nations emissions profile.

Trevor Carlson

Also, allow consumers to bring suits against companies that profit from cheating by awarding class-action style payouts. Companies who are grossly negligent would do the math and might find out it'd be cheaper to buy back certain products than to expose themselves to the lawsuits.

If anyone can think of a way to incentivize governments to be more efficient, straight-forward and common sense in their rule-making when crafting regulations I'd love to hear it. For now it seems that while they're the ones that caused this whole mess, there is no-one that is being fired or even tried for their part in the root cause. For anyone that thinks that it's not governments fault I'd like you to answer the questions- Who makes the rules? What if the rules aren't fair?

Personally, I think it'd be awesome if there were some legal mechanism so that when such egregious cheating or negligence is found to be virtually institutionalized, the institutions or at least the agencies responsible for policing them should be de-funded and dis-banded if not in whole at least in part and relative to the measure of responsibility they imposed on society economically.

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