European truck manufacturers call for action to prevent aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions controls
In the wake of a report by the German television station ZDF identifying widespread aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions control technologies on trucks, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for government action to preclude such manipulation.
The ZDF report, based on research ZDF commissioned at the University of Heidelberg, found that some 20% of trucks operating in eastern Europe have effectively circumvented NOx reduction technology, causing around 14,000 tonnes more NOx to be emitted per year than would be the case if all trucks that say they use AdBlue were doing so. The additional 14,000 tonnes of NOx would make it twice the size of the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, noted environmental NGO T&E.
The key NOx reduction technology for trucks is Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which requires the controlled dosing of a diesel exhaust fluid called AdBlue to enable effective NOx reduction. The ZDF report showed that “AdBlue emulator” devices are being installed by truck operators in order to by-pass or stop the AdBlue injection system.
If there is no AdBlue injection, there will be no NOx reduction in the SCR. This saves truck operators the cost of AdBlue refills at the environmental expense of higher NOx emissions. The truck operator may also qualify for lower motorway taxes or other benefits by officially running a Euro VI truck, which in practice will not be operating as it was designed to, because the truck operator chose to fit one of these devices. There are many websites of suppliers and marketers offering such devices, in several EU member states and also outside the European Union, at a range of prices and capabilities.
ACEA issued a statement noting that European truck manufacturers have invested heavily in complex exhaust control technology that is delivering heavy-duty vehicles which meet the stringent Euro VI emission standards.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) strongly condemns the advertising, sale and use of any aftermarket device that can be used by truck operators to turn off emission control systems.—ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert
ACEA had raised its concerns in 2012 with the European Commission and the member states, but no action was taken. The issue of aftermarket devices was also raised by Denmark several years earlier, but the general view at that time was that this should be a matter for national enforcement.
ACEA now calls on the European Commission and member states to:
Ban the advertising and sale of any aftermarket device (hardware or software) that can by-pass vehicle emission control systems or enable the removal of important parts of the emission control system.
Apply random road-side enforcement by police who are authorised to stop and check vehicles, so that truck operators are aware that if they are caught using one of these devices they will face a substantial fine, or their vehicle will be treated in the same way as if vehicle safety systems were defective.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is the Brussels-based trade association of the 15 major car, van, truck and bus producers in Europe. The ACEA commercial vehicle members are DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Volvo Group.