Safeguarding compliance with new vehicle emissions legislation

August 7, 2018, European Commission Joint Research Centre

The emissions performance of vehicles is improving, but continuous monitoring is needed to follow the implementation of the new vehicle emissions legislation and compliance with it, according to a new Science for Policy report from the Joint Research centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service.

The JRC assists other services of the European Commission in preparing the groundwork for the entry into force of the new EU Type Approval framework, in particular emissions legislation. This framework has introduced new testing procedures for measuring pollutant emissions under a wide range of real driving conditions.

The JRC continues to assess vehicle emissions control technologies and their emissions performance. Within its most recent emissions testing activities, a sample of 15 vehicles complying with Euro 5b and Euro 6b standards, representing brands with high sales numbers and using the most common technologies available, was built and their emissions performance assessed, both in laboratory and on-road tests.

The European methodology developed by the JRC to detect defeat devices—illegal emissions control strategies—was also applied to these vehicles, to improve the methodology and to support the investigations conducted by EU Member States.

This work also serves as a pilot activity to prepare the JRC for the future market surveillance role under the new Type Approval Regulation, from 1st September 2020. Moreover, from January 2019, the JRC will check—on behalf of the Commission—the compliance of light-duty vehicles on the market with the recently adopted Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) requirements.

Emissions performance of Euro 6b vehicles

In 2017, the JRC tested a number of vehicles, most of which were type approved for Euro 6b limits (i.e. pre-RDE vehicles). The tests were carried out both in the laboratory and on the road and were conducted to evaluate the emissions performance of these vehicles.

The tests primarily contribute to an understanding of which technologies are the cleanest at a given point in time. They also allow for checking whether there have been improvements to the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions performance of diesel vehicles.

All the tested vehicles complied with the applicable limits on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests. With respect to RDE tests, while all the tested gasoline Euro 6b vehicles were already below the future NOx Euro 6d-TEMP conformity threshold, only 2 of the 7 diesel Euro 6b vehicles tested were found to be below the NOx Euro 6d-TEMP conformity threshold.

Under laboratory and RDE tests, and for the (small) vehicle sample, the NOx emissions of Euro 6b diesel vehicles were still, on average, eight times higher than those of Euro 6b gasoline vehicles. However, the diesel cars performed much better than gasoline cars in tests on other regulated pollutants—carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (measured only in laboratory conditions only) and ultrafine particulate matter.

The NOx emissions of diesel cars are expected to be substantially reduced following the introduction of the RDE requirements, in force for type approval of vehicles since September 2017. The situation will be monitored continuously by the Commission (and the JRC in particular) over the coming years.

Developing tools to detect illegal practices

To support Member States' investigations on the use of defeat devices, the JRC has contributed to the development of emissions testing methodologies which can be used to build evidence of potential illegal strategies.

To carry out this work, the JRC tested a selection of vehicles—including those for which the presence of a defeat device was already established—to verify that the developed testing methodologies were able to detect the presence of the defeat devices.

The methodologies were made available to national authorities via the European Commission Type Approval Authorities Expert Group (TAAEG) in January 2017, when the European Commission also published a guidance document on the evaluation of emissions strategies and for detecting suspicious behaviour that could be caused by the presence of defeat devices.

JRC Science for Policy report

The results of the tests carried out by the JRC are summarised in a Science for Policy report, which is publicly available on the JRC's website.

Explore further: VW says newer motor may also have had trick software (Update)

Related Stories

Daimler earnings hit by trade tensions, emissions rules

July 26, 2018

German automaker Daimler AG said Thursday that its net profit fell 27 percent in the second quarter as the company confronted multiple challenges including trade tensions, weak pricing for its luxury cars, and recalls and ...

Cleaner diesel on the horizon

August 22, 2017

On September 1, 2017, new emissions regulations for passenger vehicles will come into force in the EU and Switzerland. These will plug the gaps in the existing legislation and ensure that diesel vehicles in particular become ...

EU carmakers 'inflating' emissions to skew carbon targets

July 25, 2018

The European Commission on Wednesday said EU-based carmakers are artificially inflating carbon dioxide emissions data under a new testing regime to distort future greenhouse gas targets, but manufacturers denied any trickery.

Recommended for you

NASA's Mars 2020 rover is put to the test

March 20, 2019

In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.