Due to the level of harmful
pollution that vehicle emissions can emit, the EU has set up a common legal
framework to regulate the approval of cars, vans trucks, buses and coaches that
are manufactured in the EU. As such, car manufacturers must meet the EU emissions
standards in order to comply with the regulations.
The regulation is called the
Euro 5 and 6 Regulation 715/2007/EC. It specifies the emission limits for
important toxic pollutants including nitrogen oxides (NOx). The current limit
for NOx emissions for new diesel passenger cars and vans sold in the EU is 80
mg/km. In addition, an on-road emission test called the Real Driving Emissions
test (RDE) is also required. More recently, it has been agreed that all new
cars and vans sold in the EU will be required to have zero emissions by 2035.
What Are NOx Emissions?
NOx stands for Nitrogen oxides
which are a group of gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels produced
by cars and road traffic. The gases then disperse into the air and cause
pollution which damages the environment and also human health triggering
inflammation and asthma attacks.
What Is a Real Driving Emissions
Real Driving Emissions tests
assess the level of NOx that is emitted from a car when it is driving on the
road. This works by installing specialised equipment onto the car to make sure
that any pollutants such as NOx do not exceed the limit according to the EU
regulations. As part of the test, the car is driven on a real road and is
exposed to different conditions such as low and high altitudes, hill driving,
urban roads, motorways, and rural roads to make sure that it meets
requirements. The RDE is used alongside the laboratory tests that must be
carried out to check the levels of NOx.
Will the RDE Stop the Risk of
Between 2007 and 2020 it was
found that some leading car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Vauxhall, Renault,
and Peugeot to name a few used a cheat device or illegal “defeat devices” in
diesel cars to make the vehicle appear as though it had reduced NOx emissions
and therefore satisfied the EU emissions standards. As a result, the cars were
being mis-sold to people who thought that they were buying environmentally
friendly vehicles. This scandal is known as the Emissions Scandal or
According to the EU, the RDE
testing which is conducted alongside the laboratory tests that check for
harmful pollutants will lower the risk of cheating with a defeat device because
the cars will be tested in both a laboratory and under real-world driving
conditions. This two-stage process will reduce the chances that manufacturers
will be able to get around the rules. In addition, diesel car owners are able
to claim compensation under the Dieselgate scandal against certain car
manufacturers for financial loss after being sold or leased vehicles that they
believed met the EU regulations, but in fact, did not.