EU proposes new real world emissions test reforms

The EU Commission is looking to bring car mpg and emissions test centres under greater scrutiny

Diesel smog, haze, pollution

European vehicle emissions testing is to undergo a major overhaul under new proposals from the European Commission.

The Commission is looking to bring test centres under greater scrutiny, introduce spot-checks for manufacturers and initiate peer reviewing between different national type approval centres. The draft regulations also demand access to car’s software protocols – an effort to limit the future use of defeat device software.

The majority of EU test centres are funded and supported by car manufacturers which creates an obvious bias in vehicle testing. Part of the Commission’s reforms include distancing test centres from manufacturers by modifying the remuneration system behind them. 

• Everything you need to know about the VW emissions scandal

To bring test centres of different nationalities in line, the Commission also wants to see peer-reviews between national type approval authorities, and to have powers to carry out vehicle verification testing, and if need be, initiate recalls.

Spot-checks also form part of the Commission’s new plan to better monitor vehicle quality once outside the test centres. Spot-checks on cars already in the market would be a new addition to the existing scheme where vehicles are only tested before entering the market.

EU Commissioner Jyrki Katainen said: “To regain customers' trust in this important industry, we need to tighten the rules but also ensure they are effectively observed. It is essential to restore a level playing field and fair competition in the market.” 

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The draft proposals have been sent to the European Parliament for adoption. If the EU Parliament approves of the plans, they will be directly applicable, and set in place before new emissions legislation comes to force in 2017.

The World Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is scheduled to replace the current New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) in 2017. The WLTP retains an element of laboratory testing, although more sophisticated than the NEDC with new and improved drive cycles, but also contains an element of real world driving.

Real world emissions data available now

For those not wanting to wait until 2017, a new initiative by analytics firm, Emissions Analytics, will allow buyers to identify and compare real-world emissions of new cars sold.

• Best low emissions green cars on sale now 

The company has tested over 1,000 different vehicles using the same equipment the EU will adopt in 2017 as part of its new emissions regulation, and will allow buyers to compare real world emissions between different makes. 

What are your thoughts on the new EU proposals? Are they enough or should governments be striving for more? 

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