Politicians have decided to prevent a plan to allow vehicle manufacturers to exceed Euro 6 emissions limits for the next four years from being put into action. And in the wake of the scandal which is still surrounding the VW Group, the fact that the European Commission’s initial ruling was overturned is hardly a surprise.
Manufacturers had successfully lobbied the EC to allow new vehicles to exceed Euro 6 standards by up to 110 per cent until 2019. But as critics have pointed out, this would mean that new cars, vans and trucks could all feature engines which were not any cleaner in practice than older Euro 5 units while still being allowed to enter the marketplace.
The main reason that manufacturers were eager to gain this leeway in emissions tests is that the EU is set to impose rule changes which will see the process of checking up on a vehicle’s NOx output become far more stringent, focusing on real-world performance rather than figures achieved in lab conditions.
There were concerns about the extent of the margin for error that testing equipment would suffer on public roads, but politicians in the European Parliament came to the conclusion that the variables impacting these portable systems were not significant enough to justify the level of flexibility manufacturers were requesting.
Since the kits have an 18.75 per cent margin for error, it does seem that the extent to which manufacturers were requesting to be given the benefit of the doubt was excessive and unsustainable from an environmental point of view, according to AutoExpress.
The strong majority of MEPs that voted against the EC’s initial plans shows that there is far greater awareness about the issue of emissions in the aftermath of the discovery that VW had been using software to cheat emissions testing procedures. And with another vote set to take place next month, the momentum behind the movement to block the proposals has more time to build.
Reducing European Air Pollution
EU spokesperson Julia Poliscanova said that European countries deserved to benefit from a reduction in air pollution, which is why it was important for the parliament to come together and prevent manufacturers from getting an easier time of things when their vehicles are put to the test in the future.
Of course, the Euro 6 emissions standards have been in effect since 2014, overtaking the older Euro 5 standards of 2008. And this is already having an impact on the types of engines which trucks and other commercial vehicles feature, with most new models benefiting from a significant reduction in harmful emissions as a result.
On the used market the age of the truck in question will determine the type of engine technology which is under the skin. And the first Euro 6 units are starting to filter through to be available second-hand. The new challenge to the proposed relaxation of testing requirements is likely to make new models even cleaner in the near future.