The European Parliament will vote at the next plenary session on a proposal to veto a draft decision to raise diesel car emission limits for NOx by up to 110% when the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure is introduced.
Parliament’s Environment Committee argues that MEPs should veto plans to relax the limits because this would undermine the enforcement of existing EU standards.
Some Members called on the European Commission to put forward a revised proposal, as well as plans for a stronger type-approval system for vehicles in the EU. Others stressed the need to put the Real Drive Emissions test procedure into effect quickly, in order to bring down emission levels.
In her concluding remarks, internal market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said that vetoing the proposed measures would only prolong today's unsatisfactory car testing regime.
As part of a package to introduce the long-awaited RDE test procedure, endorsed by EU member states in the Technical Committee for Motor Vehicles (TCMV) on 28 October, the European Commission proposed to raise car NOx emission limits by up to 110%.
The second RDE package, approved by the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) on 28 October, seeks to establish quantitative RDE requirements to limit the tailpipe emissions of light passenger and commercial (Euro 6) vehicles. The proposed requirements are to be introduced in two steps:
As a first step, car manufacturers would have to bring down the discrepancy to a “conformity factor” of a maximum of 2.1 (110%) for new models by September 2017 (and for new vehicles by September 2019);
As a second step, this discrepancy would be brought down to a factor of 1.5 (50%), taking account of technical margins of error, by January 2020 for all new models (and by January 2021 for all new cars). A conformity factor for the number of particles (PN) remains to be determined.
Background. The European Commission has been working to tighten up both actual NOx emissions limits and the testing procedures. NOx emissions limits for diesel vehicles have been tightened as follows (all application dates to new emission type approvals, application to all new vehicles always 1 year later):
- January 2000: 500 mg/km (Euro3)
- January 2005: 250 mg/km (Euro 4)
- September 2009: 180 mg/km (Euro 5)
- September 2014: 80 mg/km (Euro 6)
According to Commission data, currently produced Euro 6 diesel cars exceed the NOx limit 4-5 times (400%) on average in real driving conditions compared to laboratory testing.
The RDE procedure will complement the laboratory-based procedure to check that the NOx emission levels—and at a later stage also particle numbers (PN)—measured during the laboratory test are confirmed in real driving conditions.
The car under test will be driven outside and on a real road according to random acceleration and deceleration patterns. The pollutant emissions will be measured by portable emission measuring systems (PEMS) that will be attached to the car.
RDE testing will reduce the currently observed differences between emissions measured in the laboratory, and those measured on road under real-world conditions, and to a great extent limit the risk of cheating with a defeat device.