Euro 6 Diesel & Petrol Cars Exceeding Legal Emissions Levels During Real-World Use, ICCT Study Finds

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Real-world emissions levels from diesel and petroleum/gasoline-powered Euro 6 cars are illegally high, according to a new study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

To be more specific, the study — conducted by the Laboratory of Applied Thermodynamics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in concert with its spin-off company Emisia — found that carbon dioxide and NOx emissions levels during the real-world performance of 4 tested Euro 6 passenger cars exceeds established certification levels.

The lot of 4 Euro 6 passenger cars that was tested was comprised of 3 diesel cars and 1 petrol/gas car — all with different aftertreatment technologies.

The press release explains the methodology of the testing: “First, the laboratory testing reiterated the NEDC type-approval test using two different estimation of on-road frictions for the different vehicles (road-load settings). The first used the car manufacturer’s original parameters, and the second our own independent measurements. Another series of tests completed the laboratory investigation and measured emissions on different vehicle speed profile (i.e., ARTEMIS, WLTC) at ambient conditions varying from 18°C to 25°C.

“Second, the four vehicles were tested on the road following the RDE regulation protocol, which includes defined limits for dynamic driving conditions (e.g., exclusion based on vehicle’s speed and acceleration, and cumulative positive altitude). For the last series of on-road tests, the four vehicles were driven more dynamically on a hilly road to investigate emission levels outside the scope covered by the regulation.”

So, what were the findings? The graph posted in this article pretty much sums the matter up: The results of the current testing process are in no real way indicative of real-world emissions levels.

Here’s an overview of the findings:

  • Every tested vehicle exceeded their carbon dioxide (CO2) certification levels in a range varying from 21% to 37% under the laboratory type-approval test using real-word road-load settings.
  • Two of the three diesel vehicles exceeded the nitrogen-oxides (NOx) limit by 19% and 66% while tested under the laboratory type-approval test.
  • Under RDE-compliant on-road trips, NOx emissions from diesel vehicles showed average levels varying from 5 to 16 times the Euro 6 limit.
  • NOx emissions of diesel vehicles driven in more dynamic driving conditions increased further to reach a range from 26 to 40 times the Euro 6 limit.
  • NOx and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from the gasoline vehicle remained below the Euro 6 limit under any of the laboratory tests and RDE-compliant trips. While tested in more dynamic on-road conditions, emissions exceeded the laboratory type-approval limit by a factor of 2.5 for NOx and by a factor of 2.4 for CO.

The findings really make you wonder: When are authorities in Europe going to get around to actually dealing with the issue of automobile-associated air pollution.

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James Ayre

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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