RDE will reduce real-world emissions – modern Euro 6 diesels and electric mobility improve air quality
“The test report from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) on pollutant emissions from diesel passenger cars brings clarity and transparency,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), upon publication of the KBA test report. It states that illegal manipulation of software to falsify laboratory tests has occurred only in the one known case. The results show that all the other German manufacturers keep within the limit values for laboratory testing for type approval. The British authorities have also come to the same conclusions in their tests.
According to the VDA, these independent investigations eliminate the repeatedly expressed general suspicion of the entire automotive industry. The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has examined more than 50 different vehicles with various diesel engines, from German and foreign manufacturers. The pollutant emissions were measured both on the dyno test bench and by portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) on the road.
It has once again been made clear that emissions values on the road are different than those in the laboratory. These differences are mostly due to individual use, weather and traffic conditions, and the topography, and show that the current test cycle is no longer a true representation of today’s driving. Another factor is the temperature restrictions that are applied to emissions-reducing equipment to protect the vehicle’s engine and which to a certain extent are necessary and permissible. The existing legislation does not prescribe any procedures or limit values for measuring emissions on the road. The automotive manufacturers are obligated to comply with the regulations for laboratory testing and to publish the results in accordance with EU standards. This has been done.
Despite all this, it is understandable that large discrepancies between official values and real-world results cause frustration and irritation, and that customers and legislators expect more reliable information. “The companies involved will do everything they can to carry out the tasks they have been given by the Federal Motor Transport Authority,” the VDA president stressed.
According to the VDA, the German automotive industry greatly welcomes the fact that the RDE road tests applicable in the EU from 2017 will lead to more legal clarity for consumers and the industry. It also welcomes the German and European policy-makers’ desire to make the regulatory framework more precise and create clearer guidelines. RDE represents a huge challenge for the auto companies. The new requirements will decrease real-world emissions and therefore accelerate improvement in air quality.
Wissmann emphasized, “There is no reason to turn one’s back on the most advanced diesels. Today’s Euro 6 diesels meet the strictest nitrogen oxide targets both in the lab and on the road. So now the aim has to be to get modern Euro 6 diesel passenger cars onto the market as quickly as possible. Electric mobility has a huge potential for reducing emissions over the medium and long term. For this reason, we should work even harder on Germany becoming the leading market for electric mobility. Our manufacturers have already achieved the goal of being the ‘leading provider’ with around 30 volume models.”
Wissmann was also in favor of future new developments in type approval and other control systems. “We support measures safeguarding the integrity and transparency of the system in general. This can rebuild lost confidence. All the costs incurred during type approval are already borne by the automotive industry. Furthermore, the German manufacturers have offered to make their software concepts for exhaust aftertreatment accessible to the approval authorities in the future. This will require a guarantee that such information relevant to competition will be treated as strictly confidential,” the VDA president said.
According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), nitrogen oxide emissions from road traffic were brought down by nearly 70 percent in the period from 1990 to 2013, despite the total mileages traveled increasing by about 50 percent from 1990 to the present day.
Wissmann emphasized, “Raising the air quality swiftly will necessitate not only renewing the fleet with Euro 6 diesels, but also measures to improve the flow of traffic and prevent congestion; the ‘green wave’ and smoothly flowing traffic reduce nitrogen oxide output by almost one third. In addition, urban buses and taxis should be replaced by the latest models. A study by Prognos found that alongside the ramp-up of electric mobility, we can apply connectivity to avoid 30 percent of driving while searching for a parking space in towns and cities – that, too, will reduce emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides.”