Europe leads the way on car emissions testing

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The new tests are tougher and are closer to real-world driving conditions. Image: Alex_Ishchenko/IStock.Com via AFP Relaxnews

From Friday, the European Union will be able to claim that it has the toughest, most stringent and realistic system for testing new cars’ fuel consumption and, crucially their carbon dioxide emissions.

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (W.L.T.P.) is designed to mirror real-world driving conditions as closely as possible. Cars tested will be subjected to many more realistic driving situations including urban and suburban conditions as well as on the highway. Cars will be driven at higher speeds and for longer distance and acceleration, deceleration and gear changes will be more reflective of genuine driving.

What’s more, starting September 1, a further regulated test, the Real Driving Emissions (R.D.E.) is also coming into force. It uses mobile sensors and measuring equipment to measure a car’s emissions while really driving on the road in genuine driving conditions, rather than in laboratory conditions. The idea being that the figures obtained via W.L.T.P. are then validated by the R.D.E. test. There are plans for the rest of the world to adopt R.D.E., but for the moment, Europe is ahead of the global pack.

The new regulations could not arrive at a better time, especially considering the continued fallout regarding dieselgate. Renewed suspicion of a diesel engine’s apparent emission levels is one of the reasons why, when Porsche unveiled its all-new Cayenne SUV on Tuesday, that it intentionally omitted to provide any details about potential diesel powerplants that will be offered with the car.

Nevertheless, European automakers are fully behind the new testing procedures, with a spokesperson from the ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association saying: “ACEA fully supports the improved emission test methods – both the updated laboratory test for measuring both pollutant and carbon dioxide emissions (W.L.T.P.), as well as the additional new test to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions (R.D.E.). ACEA believes that these new tests will give consumers and legislators increased confidence in the environmental performance of new vehicles.” JB

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