A clean diesel campaign has been launched by Europe’s motor industry and suppliers but concerns over emissions remain
Europe’s car industry today launched a new campaign to get the industry’s message over that diesel technology is clean and acceptable for use in light passenger vehicles.
The clean diesel campaign, which includes involvement by the European Automobile Manufacturers Associations (ACEA) comes alongside the launch of the Euro 6 standards which requires that all new cars sold from September 1 onwards must meet relevant EU legislation on emissions.
The motor industry has ongoing concerns about the impact of sales of a crackdown by regulators on diesel emissions. This comes amid a growing recognition by public authorities of the harm that particulates from diesel cars and other vehicles, particularly in urban areas, can cause.
In the UK earlier this year the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) launched its own campaign to back diesel cars with the campaign www.dieselfacts.co.uk. The SMMT, which is an associate member of the ACEA, is expected to continue its efforts to promote the use of diesel cars on the back of the launch of Euro 6.
Under scrutiny now will be how Euro 6 standard cars perform in real-life use and this will only be known once the associated Euro 6c testing regime, which is still be agreed, is fully implemented and real life vehicles tests are undertaken.
Referring to the importance of Euro 6c, one of the UK’s top experts on emissions, Roger Barrowcliffe, chair of the Institute of Air Quality Management, told AirQualityNews.com that he had reservations at present about potential results from the new standard.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Mr Barrowcliffe said: “I welcome the Euro 6 standard but the crucial thing is not the arrival of the new emissions standard, but that until Euro 6c comes into force we remain still in some doubt that Euro 6 will deliver the results that we think it might.â€?
He noted that “experience to date on heavy goods vehicles has been quite promising. In so far as light passenger vehicles, the evidence seems to be variable to date. The standards have been in for over a year and on passenger cars, some are doing alright but some vehicle types are seriously out of compliance. The critical point is getting the standards to comply with the vehicles when they are in service.â€?
And, Mr Barrowcliffe referenced last year’s study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which found that “on-road nitrogen oxides emission levels of modern diesel cars are on average about seven times higher than the limit set by the Euro 6 emission standard, which went into effect in September 2014.â€?
Another UK air quality expert told AirQualityNews.com today that there would now be a lot of haggling between the industry, governments and the European Commission over the conformity level for Euro 6c. This is the figure that relates to the relationship between real life results and the standard and the motor industry is expected to seek a limit which it finds more easier to work with than that sought by air quality campaigners and other interested groups.
In terms of the ACEA online campaign, this explains with a range of graphics how the industry believes diesel fuels can be advantageous.
ACEA, said the campaign, aims “to raise awareness about clean diesel, which is made up of a three-part system that combines cleaner diesel fuel, advanced engines and effective emissions control technology. This campaign provides simple and accessible facts, figures and infographics to inform the general public and policy makers alike about the latest generation of diesel technology.â€?
And, the motor industry organisation continued: “Since 1992, the EU has introduced increasingly stricter limits on vehicle emissions through a series of ‘Euro’ standards. The latest and most stringent of these standards is Euro 6. New car models have complied with Euro 6 since September 2014, and as of today all new cars sold must meet this standard. Over the last 15 years, nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits for diesel car engines have been reduced by 84%, and particulates (PM) by 90%. Diesel cars also have 15% lower CO2 emissions per kilometre than equivalent petrol-powered vehicles.â€?
The other campaign partners are: the Association for Emissions Control by Catalyst (AECC), the European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA) and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA).
Research for the European Commission, published in April 2015 noted that: “Concerning the test cycle, there is an increasing discrepancy between real-world and test cycle emissions which has eroded a significant portion of the originally expected benefits of the Regulations.â€?
It also noted that: “From 2017/18 standards for ‘real driving emissions’ (‘Euro 6c’) are expected, although the modalities of the procedure have not been finalised yet (TU Graz, 2013). This should greatly reduce the observed gap between petrol and diesel NOx emissions and consequently trade-offs between CO2 and NOx emissions.â€? (Source: Evaluation of Regulations 443/2009 and 510/2011 on CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles)