Europe to Institute On-the-Road Emissions Testing

By Paul Riegler on 31 October 2015
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The European Union, in the wake of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, announced on Wednesday plans to employ a new method of emissions testing.

The tests will measure emissions while cars are being driven, instead of performing the tests strictly in testing labs. The procedure makes the European Union the first governmental body to move outside the lab.

“The EU is the first and only region in the world to mandate these robust testing methods,” said Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European commissioner overseeing the effort, in a statement. “This is not the end of the story.”

The new testing procedures are to be in place by September 2017 for new car models, and by September 2019 for all new cars sold in all 28 member states. The new tests will initially allow cars to emit more than twice the current EU level of nitrogen oxides as is allowed in lab tests. Starting in 2021, new cars will have to limit the level of nitrogen oxides to 50% above the current in-lab limit.

The limits are higher because the current lab tests do not reflect the reality of what a new car’s exhaust actually emits. The testing centers around nitrogen oxides because they are a byproduct of diesel engines, which power more than half of all new cars sold in Europe each year.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)