Car makers lobby to delay emission test upgrade

The European car industry is lobbying to delay the introduction of a tough new emissions testing regime designed to combat fears that carmakers are playing the system to boost their efficiency ratings.

European cars are as much as 30 per cent less efficient than their manufacturers claim, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, as carmakers take advantage of an archaic testing system that they want to keep in place for at least seven years.

The EU has said it wants to replace the 1970s test with a much more stringent regime by 2017. The new test would remove the loopholes that carmakers currently use to boost their efficiency ratings, including disconnecting the battery to stop it charging during the test, overinflating the tyres to reduce resistance and performing the test at optimum temperatures.

According to a report in the Financial Times, documents they have seen show that the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the industry’s lobby group, is pushing for a 2021 implementation date at the earliest. If the system is brought in before that, they say it would be impossible to meet existing 2020 targets for CO2 emissions. If no compromise is reached, carmakers could face fines of hundreds of millions of Euros for failing to meet the targets.

ACEA said in a statement that “all manufacturers test vehicles according to the laws in force.”

“Looking at the scale of the task required, ACEA believes 2017 is incredibly ambitious,” said Erik Jonnaert, the lobby group’s secretary-general. “The automobile industry continues to participate in an active and positive manner to the development, finalisation and implementation of the new test procedure, as it always does.”

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