On Wednesday, the European Commission claimed that EU carmakers are exploiting a new testing regime to inflate CO2 emissions data in an attempt to skew greenhouse gas targets. We are currently seeing a shift from the old NEDC testing procedure to a new procedure, WLTP. This new claim arrives in the wake of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal from 2015, but automakers have denied any attempt at manipulation.
Christian Wigand, spokesperson for the Commission, said “manufacturers may use the transition… to inflate their WLTP emission levels in 2020”. This would result in less ambitious targets for CO2 emissions being set for 2025 and 2030, which currently stand at a 15% reduction and then 30%.
The details of the new claim differ from those of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, where Volkswagen admitted to manipulating NOx emissions so that lab tests appeared much less harmful than real-world driving. The Commission has now accused manufacturers of cheating in two ways in an effort to skew CO2 targets.
Firstly, declared CO2 emissions have been found, on average, to 4.5% higher than measured values, with reports for some models reaching 13%. Secondly, the manufacturers have been accused of configuring vehicles differently for the WLTP tests compared with the NEDC tests.
In response to the allegations, BMW have quoted a statement from the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), saying that “German carmakers are doing everything they can” to reduce CO2 emissions. The association claimed that reporting higher emissions would be ‘counterproductive’.
A Volkswagen spokeswoman has also added that “testing procedures are carried out by independent institutions under neutral supervision” and that “It can be ruled out that the newly measured CO2 levels under the WLTP have been artificially increased for Volkswagen group’s brands”.
Citroen and Peugeot manufacturer, PSA, has said that there has been no cheating and that all the emissions data is published online.
Wigand has said that “the correct implementation of this WLTP testing is of course of utmost importance” and “We are now following this up to make sure that no misuse can happen”.
Commission officials have suggested revising EU regulations to ensure accurate reporting and the integrity of future targets.