The Peugeot 3008 has exceeded the European Union’s legislative limit for nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel exhaust emissions by almost 14 times, a British Government test has found.
The SUV/crossover was the worst of 19 newer cars tested against the current Euro6 emissions standard for NOx. A Vauxhall Insignia was the worst of 18 older cars in the more lenient Euro5 test, recording 10 times over the limit,
The transport ministry’s NZ$2.1 million inquiry was launched in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. It tested 37 diesel cars from over 20 brands. Each was driven for 90 minutes in real-world conditions.
All 37 recorded an average of six times more NOx than the legal limit used in official emissions tests. Of the Euro5 cars, the best results were about three times higher and the worst about ten times higher, the report said.
The Euro6 NOx limit is 80 milligrams per kilometer; the Euro5 is 180 mg/km. The 37 vehicles and test result is at www.govt.uk – ‘vehicle emissions testing programme’.
The ministry’s report insisted that no laws had been broken by the carmakers because they are only required to meet laboratory regulations. “The vehicles tested in the UK program showed no evidence of car manufacturers, apart from VW Group, fitting devices to defeat the approved emissions test programme,” it said.
From September next year, the European Union will introduce real driving emissions (RDE) tests. Regulations are yet to be fully agreed, but it has been proposed that new diesel models will initially be allowed to emit up to 2.1 times more NOx than the current laboratory limit.
Why? To give carmakers time to develop ways of cutting emissions and allow a margin for error in the testing equipment. In January 2020, the limit will be cut to a maximum 1.5 times the NOx standard.
Jim Holder, editorial director of British magazines Autocar and What Car?, said that even though better testing regulations are being introduced, the transport ministry’s report paints legislators and the motor industry in “a very poor light”.
He said: “They have not maintained the regulations to a satisfactory standard. For all the rhetoric about improving public health, they have allowed that to be given scant attention for 15 or 20 years.
“They’re coming in late. They delayed introducing these new regulations. They’ve introduced them now when they’ve been forced to. It’s a shame they didn’t do it before.”
The emissions finding in Britain comes as:
• Japan’s Mitsubishi admits it manipulated fuel use data in more than 600,000 kei-class vehicles. This class covers tiny vans, trucks and passenger cars but is reserved for vehicles that meet strict fuel economy standards and are thus taxed at a lower rate. The company’s CEO bowed from the waist at a press conference in Japan and said sorry. Shares in Mitsubishi fell 15 per cent on the admission, wiping US$1.2 billion off the company’s value. There are believed to be no Kei-class vehicles on the road in New Zealand.
• The VW Group and US federal authorities reached an agreement in principal where VW will offer to buy back nearly 500,000 2.0-litre VW and Audi diesel vehicles that were fitted with emissions cheating software. The settlement would include a separate US1 billion compensation fund for US owners and an offer to repair the polluting vehicles, if US regulators agree to the proposed fix.