Renault and Nissan have come out worst in a new study done by the team behind one aspect of the VW scandal. They also revealed that the average new diesel car emits more than six times the legal limit of nitrous oxide (NOx) when tested in multiple real-world conditions.

The FIA Foundation and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), who helped to reveal the VW scandal, released new information this week showing that in real world tests most manufacturers come out way above the maximum limit.

Worst performing manafacturers

Renault and Nissan came out worst performing, after signing a strategic partnership deal in 1999, meaning that their diesel engines are the same. The legal limit for NOx is 0.08mg/km, and Renault Nissan averaged over 12 times that, way above 0.8 mg km.

The worst offenders from these brands included the Renault Kaptur, and the Nissan Juke and Qashqai, as identified through previous research.

Following Renault Nissan came Fiat Chrysler with a figure just under 0.8mg/km. Hyuandi entered in third place, with Toyota and Ford taking fourth and fifth respectively. The VW group actually fell near the bottom of the list, showing their commitment to change since the dieselgate scandal of 2015, with Jaguar Land Rover taking the bottom spot and having the cleanest engines.

Euro 6 compliance

It was found that none of the Euro 6 models available on the market actually reached the mark in the rigorous tests done by The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) initiative and less than 30% of diesel cars tested on the roads were actually Euro 6 compliant meaning that if the ULEZ zones were measured on TRUE results, no cars could enter the centre of London.

Euro 6 compliance is legal on all new models bought on cars, and from September 2019 any car registrations must be Euro 6 compliant. It was introduced in 2015, and since then any mass produced cars have had to be compliant.

The Euro 6 compliance level aims to reduce the amount of NOx, particulate matter and a few other harmful chemicals. Every year 40,000 people die for reasons related to pollution, and so each new iteration of EU compliance aims to lower these numbers further and further.

The new ULEZ zones coming in to force early next year in London means that any car that doesn’t meet the Euro 6 standards will have to pay an extra £10 on top of any other congestion charges. Those living in Islington with a diesel car will also face an annual surcharge of £99.65 which other London councils may adopt later in 2019.

Euro compliance testing is done in a controlled environment overlooked by Government agencies, meaning that real-world tests are more likely to capture data that is more representative of drivers.

TRUE testing methods

The TRUE test used remote sensing technology, which shot infrared and ultraviolet beams through the pollution emitted by each car as well as the type of car, whether it was a fleet or commercial vehicle and what Euro compliance rating it was.

The TRUE rating is a three-colour scheme, in which green = meets pollutant limits, red = far exceeds limits and yellow = in between and no diesel car tested during this period, including Euro 6 compliant vehicles, had a green rating. The TRUE rating takes the Euro 6 data but tests cars in a real-world test.

The testing was completed over a five-month sampling campaign, November 2017 to March 2018, and was active in nine spots across London. More than 100,000 vehicles were tested, and due to the real world nature of the data, it was more authentic and tangible than the laboratory testing done for Euro compliance.

It must be said that the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) procedures are more reflective of real-world driving habits. However, due to the controlled environment, they can never be entirely accurate in comparison to a test done on vehicles that have been driven for a while on actual roads, gone over potholes and generally had a bumpy ride.

Taxis pollute the most

The study also found that the most common black cab models pollute up to 30 times more NOx than a personal car of the same age. Euro 5 black taxi cabs, some of the newer models and technically more compliant with stricter emissions test, are producing at least 50% more NOX than of the Euro 3 or Euro 4 models. The average NOX emissions from cabs per KG of fuel used have actually seen a measurable increase in the past five years.

When compared to buses, this is shocking as there has been a 65% decrease in emissions by buses over the last five years, and due to the number of people, a bus can hold it means they are naturally less polluting anyway when compared to the pollutant per person.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s air is so toxic it damages children’s lung growth, causes thousands of premature deaths and increases the risk of asthma and dementia. We know that dirty vehicles are responsible for half of our NOX air pollution – and this new data from TRUE and ICCT reveals the stark health impact of polluting diesel taxis on our streets. It also underlines why we at City Hall have been delivering hard-hitting, urgently needed policies to tackle vehicle emissions, such as cleaning up the bus fleet and introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, 24 hours, seven days a week in central London from next April. We all need to play a part in cleaning up our toxic air and while I am encouraged that almost 1,000 taxi drivers have switched to cleaner electric taxis, this damning report really highlights why we need to accelerate their uptake.”

What do you think should be done to help reduce emissions? Do you know how much your car actually pollutes? Let us know below

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