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Luís Miguel replied on 26 Mar 2019 17:48

WLTP: why some carmakers pushed for higher CO2 emissions

It may sound absurd, but some OEMs were rumoured to inflate the fuel consumption and hence the CO2 emissions of their newly homologated cars by switching off the start-stop system, choosing less fuel-efficient gearshift patterns and selecting for instance the Dynamic rather than the Eco mode during the type approval test.

Why they would do that? By artificially increasing their CO2 emissions, car manufacturers hoped to weaken future reduction targets. According to lobby group Transport & Environment, this also partly explains the considerable disparity in average emissions between different carmakers.

The main element affecting the level of 2021 emissions is the ratio between manufacturers’ average WLTP emissions and average NEDC emissions in 2020, explains Autovista Group. This means that an increase of the average WLTP emissions in 2020 relative to NEDC would lead to a higher 2021 target, thus increasing the starting point for calculating future targets and undermining the effectiveness of emissions reduction.  

Between 1% and 81%

When homologation tests in Europe switched to WLTP from the former NEDC procedure, the CO2 increase ranged between 1% and 81% depending on the manufacturer, according to Transport and Environment.

Manufacturers are under increased pressure to find loopholes in the testing system as the EU introduces tougher CO2 reduction targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. By exploiting the loophole, they would have an easier target to achieve when 2025 and 2030 reductions are set, Autovista Group clarifies.

No more colouring outside the lines

Since February, automakers are required to turn on all emissions-saving technology, such as the stop-start function, and use the same drive mode for each model tested.

ACEA, the European association of carmakers, welcomes the tightened rules, saying that the changes make the WLTP testing procedure even more robust and prevent any test manipulation.

“The EU automobile industry worked hard to support the European Commission in developing the new WLTP laboratory test for measuring CO2 and pollutant emissions from cars and vans. WLTP introduced much more realistic and robust testing conditions than the previous, outdated lab test (NEDC). This ensures that lab measurements now better reflect the on-road performance of a car. Future CO2reduction targets for cars and vans will be based on baseline levels set by the WLTP tests in 2020. ACEA agrees that CO2 values should not be artificially increased in any way that would undermine the post-2020 CO2 targets," an ACEA spokesperson told Fleet Europe.

Questionable practices

T&E warned that automakers might have to retest models. "If carmakers want to sell them in 2020 when WLTP values for 2025 CO2 targets are measured, they either have to prove to their approval authority that they meet the new requirements, or re-homologate," Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles and emobility manager at T&E, told Automotive News Europe.

If anything, the WLTP saga points out that some OEMs rather invest in finding ways to reduce the CO2 pressure than in actually reducing the CO2 emissions of their vehicles - something that can be done by lightweighting, electrification, improved aerodynamics, thermal engine management, and so on.

By artificially increasing their CO2 emissions these OEMs put themselves temporarily in a less favourable competitive situation than the 'good guys' who did their homework and kept their emissions at bay. It can only mean that losing some customers to the competition costs less than getting CO2 emissions effectively down in the short and medium term.


Conduzam com cuidado, em respeito do código, da vida e do ambiente! Cool

Luís Miguel

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