Evidence that the latest-generation diesel cars emit low emissions on the road has been released by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.
The data was measured in real-driving conditions by the drivers of the various national type approval authorities.
Around 270 new types of diesel cars type-approved against the latest Euro 6d-TEMP standard have been introduced on the European market over the past year, and the study found that all of them performed well below the NOx threshold of the new Real Driving Emissions test, which has applied to all new car types since September 2017. What’s more, already today most of these vehicles are below the stricter NOx threshold that will be mandatory from January 2020.
The RDE test measures key pollutants, such as NOx and particles, emitted by cars on public roads over a wide range of conditions. It ensures that pollutant emission levels measured during the WLTP laboratory test are confirmed on the road, and that the legal thresholds are not exceeded during day-to-day driving.
Each of these 270 RDE-compliant diesel vehicle types represents a whole ‘family’ of similar cars in different model variants. In fact, the German automobile club, ADAC, estimates that there are more than 1,200 different RDE-compliant cars available today – and their availability is increasing rapidly.
“These new findings prove that modern diesel cars, supported by fleet renewal policies and combined with alternative powertrains, will play a strong role in helping cities move towards compliance with air quality targets,” Erik Jonnaert, ACEA’s Secretary General, said. “In parallel, diesel vehicles will continue to remain important for reducing CO2 emissions in the short and medium term, even though all manufacturers are expanding their offer of electrically-chargeable cars.”
The findings are also supported by third parties. For example, ADAC’s recent on-road testing of RDE-compliant diesel vehicles found that modern diesels emit 85% less NOx on average than Euro 5 cars, and concluded that the latest diesels are “very clean”. Additional testing demonstrated that the best-performing RDE-compliant Euro 6 diesels emit as much as 95-99% less NOx than Euro 5 vehicles.
Erik Jonnaert added: “Auto makers have made major investments to quickly deliver these massive reductions in NOx emissions. It is important that we stop demonising diesel technology as a whole. Instead, we need to differentiate between the old diesel fleet and the latest generation of vehicles.”