Press Releases

VDA: Good progress by German automotive industry in reducing “classical” pollutant emissions

Berlin, 19 August 2014

Euro 6 reduces NOx emissions to very low levels

During recent years the German automotive industry has not only greatly reduced fuel consumption and with it CO2 emissions from its newly registered passenger cars; it has also brought down emissions of “classical” pollutants to a much larger extent – by an average of 95 per cent since the Euro exhaust legislation was introduced. The automotive industry has therefore made a considerable contribution to improving air quality.

Particularly large reductions have been achieved in nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions from diesels: an 80 per cent reduction in NOX and a 50 per cent reduction in particulates from trucks, just by replacing the Euro V standard with Euro VI. An 80 per cent reduction in particulates from passenger cars was already achieved with the Euro 5 standard. The main effect of Euro 6 will now be that NOX emissions are brought down by another 56 per cent.

Airborne particulates in Germany have decreased by 40 per cent since 1995. This is largely a result of successful reductions in road traffic. A modern diesel vehicle satisfying the Euro VI standard (for trucks) or the Euro 6 standard (for passenger cars) achieves zero emissions in real operations. Particulate emissions from petrol engines are already at this low level.

Moreover, successive stages of Euro exhaust legislation have continually reduced vehicle emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). If the permitted level of air pollution is exceeded still at some urban measuring points with very heavy traffic, this has to do with the contribution from the environment and with emissions from older vehicles. When the vehicles on the roads are replaced, these emissions will come down even further. The marked reduction of NOx emissions from road traffic makes other sources more and more noticeable.

Examining the overall emissions of nitrogen oxides from road traffic reveals that taken together, passenger and freight transport have decreased these emissions by two thirds over the last 20 years. And this trend is continuing. Owing to the extremely clean Euro 6 diesel vehicles, the renowned IFEU institute expects NOx emissions to be halved again during the next ten years.

Using advanced air quality models the independent AVISO institute has calculated that given complete penetration of the vehicle fleet by Euro 6 vehicles, the ambitious NO2 limit values would almost always be met even at the most extreme hotspots. So modern Euro 6 vehicles are the technological solution to the remaining air quality challenge. Now the most important action is to bring about rapid market penetration by these clean vehicles.

The German automotive industry supports the Euro exhaust legislation and is developing its vehicles to the most modern standards. It already has over 80 models on offer with special pioneering technologies for reducing NOx emissions – which is more than in any other industrialised country anywhere in the world. So the German manufacturers are leading the field in clean diesel technology, too.

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