A much rigorous testing procedures in Europe, triggered by Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, could mean new small diesel cars could be modified or withdrawn, the European Industry Association ACEA said.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has always supported the idea of looser emissions limits, as it evidently and primarily backs up the automakers’ benefits. Tougher NOx thresholds mean the car manufacturers need to boost their investments into new technologies to make cleaner vehicles. When the Volkswagen scandal broke in September, the European Commission was already working on plans to reduce the gap between levels of pollution in the real world and in tests. After months of debating the lax compromise, which was raising diesel emission limits for nitrogen oxides by up to 110 percent when the real driving emissions test procedure is introduced, the agreement was finally endorsed by the European Parliament this month. After the EU vote, ACEA said “this regulation will be a major challenge for the industry, with new and more stringent testing standards that will be extremely difficult to reach in a short space of time.”
Now, the association said it consulted its members, which include VW, and estimated that 5 percent of planned diesel models might be withdrawn or changed during a first phase of implementation, and even more later. “It may be the case that manufacturers will have to look very carefully at their portfolio of smaller diesel vehicles because the additional costs of that technology and the ability to package that technology within a smaller platform is a big challenge,” Paul Greening, ACEA emissions and fuel director, stated. Diesels, which accounts for around half of new cars in Europe, has been pushed upfront as the proper solution to address climate change because, though high in nitrogen oxide emissions, it is low in carbon dioxide. Greening said ACEA believed there was a strong market for diesel and the best technology meant new models were clean. While Europe is still promoting the diesel technology, Japan is investing in hybrid powertrains, thus having 16 percent lower CO2 emissions from new cars, according to Eckard Helmers, a professor at Germany’s Trier University.