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Volkswagen Is Not The Only Manufacturer Failing To Live Up To Regulatory Test Performance

While Volkswagen may well be the only auto manufacturer with higher-ups arrogant enough to think that they can commit such blatant fraud forever without experiencing any repercussions, the German company is certainly not the only auto manufacturer that produces vehicles that show a large discrepancy between real-world performance and testing-cycle performance.

Volkswagen diesel

Amongst the other manufacturers that have been shown by recent research to emit significantly more pollution during real-world operation than during testing-cycle operation are: Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Mazda.

Apparently, some Hondas have even been revealed to emit up to 6 times more NOx pollution than the regulatory limits allow for. It could be worse, though — as some unidentified manufacturer’s 4×4 models were apparently found to be emitting 20 times more NOx pollution than current regulatory limits allow for.

“The issue is a systemic one across the industry,” stated Nick Molden, of the company Emissions Analytics.

The Guardian provides more:

The Guardian revealed last week that diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo, and Jeep, all pumped out significantly more NOx in more realistic driving conditions. NOx pollution is at illegal levels in many parts of the UK and is believed to have caused many thousands of premature deaths and billions of pounds in health costs.

All the diesel cars passed the EU’s official lab-based regulatory test (called NEDC), but the test has failed to cut air pollution as governments intended because carmakers designed vehicles that perform better in the lab than on the road. There is no evidence of illegal activity, such as the “defeat devices” used by Volkswagen.

The new data is from Emissions Analytics’ on-the-road testing programme, which is carefully controlled and closely matches the real-world test the European commission wants to introduce. The company tested both Euro 6 models, the newest and strictest standard, and earlier Euro 5 models.

Here’s a summary of the results:

  • Mercedes-Benz’s diesel cars produced an average of 0.406g/km of NOx on the road, at least 2.2 times more than the official Euro 5 level and 5 times higher than the Euro 6 level.
  • Honda’s diesel cars emitted 0.484g/km of NOx on average, between 2.6 and 6 times the official levels.
  • Mazda’s diesel cars had average NOx emissions of 0.293g/km in the real world, between 1 and 3.6 times the NEDC test levels. One Euro 6 model, the Mazda 6 2.2L 5DR, produced three times the official NOx emissions.
  • Mitsubishi diesel cars produced an average of 0.274g/km of NOx, between 1.5 and 3.4 higher than in the lab.

Audi, Citroen, and VW diesel car emissions were all considerably higher during real-world testing than in the lab as well, according to Emissions Analytics.


 

Altogether, Emissions Analytics analyzed roughly 50 Euro 6 diesel vehicles + 150 Euro 5 diesel vehicles — of these, only 5 possessed real-world NOx emissions levels that were comparable to those determined during official testing. Five, out of 200.

“The VW issue in the US was purely the trigger which threw light on a slightly different problem in the EU — widespread legal over-emissions,” stated Molden. “For NOx, (diesel) cars are on average four times over the legal limit, because of the lenient nature of the test cycle in the EU.”

As an American who’s lived in a number of different European countries, I can honestly say that I’m a bit surprised that anyone was ever able to take the “clean/green diesel” selling angle seriously — one of the very first things that I noticed about European cities was that the air stunk of diesel. Considering how conspicuous diesel pollution is, one would think that such a transparent scam wouldn’t have been able to go on for so long — but I guess that that’s not the case. Money and established influence talk much louder than unpalatable truths do.

 
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James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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