Re­nault on clean ex­hausts

Other car­mak­ers also guilty of cheat­ing Euro­pean emis­sion tests

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

FOL­LOW­ING the shock find­ings of a govern­ment probe into emis­sions cheat­ing that has rocked the Euro­pean car in­dus­try, which Wheels pub­lished last week, Re­nault said it would co-op­er­ate fully to re-es­tab­lish trust.

France’s En­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Se­go­lene Royal launched the probe into emis­sions cheat­ing in 2015, a year af­ter Volkswagen ad­mit­ted to fit­ting 11-mil­lion cars with soft­ware de­signed to fool emis­sions tests in off-road con­di­tions.

In pre­lim­i­nary find­ings, pub­lished in July, the com­mis­sion did not rule out that other car­mak­ers were also guilty of us­ing cheat­ing soft­ware.

The fi­nal re­port, which was is­sued mid-Septem­ber, stated that over four in five 2010-14 model year cars that met the Euro 5 stan­dard of no more than 180 g/1 000 km ni­tro­gen-ox­ide in lab­o­ra­tory con­di­tions, ac­tu­ally pro­duce more than three times this level when driven on the road.

Two-thirds of new Euro 6 cars (most on sale since 2015) still pro­duce more than three times the 80 g/1 000 km limit when driven on the road.

Iron­i­cally, VW Group now pro­duces the clean­est Euro 6 cars, fol­lowed by Seat, Skoda, Audi, BMW (in­clud­ing Mini) and Mazda.

Re­nault, which in­cludes Da­cia, topped the Euro 5 cars with the worst emis­sions, fol­lowed by Land Rover, Hyundai, Opel/Vaux­hall (in­clud­ing Chev) and Nis­san. Re­nault moved into the spot­light when the Fi­nan­cial Times quoted mem­bers of the in­quiry team as say­ing that the re­port “omit­ted sig­nif­i­cant de­tails”, and sus­pected that the in­quiry was too le­nient on Re­nault be­cause of the govern­ment’s 20% stake in the car­maker.

Royal de­nied these claims and said last week that ad­di­tional tests were un­der way to try to en­sure that man­u­fac­tur­ers can­not “game” or rig test­ing re­sults.

Re­nault boss Car­los Ghosn told AFP at the Paris car show that it was “nec­es­sary to re-es­tab­lish trust”.

Ghosn said that gam­ing ran “against the in­ter­est of car­mak­ers” and said he hoped the Euro­pean Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion ACEA would lay down rules as the in­dus­try needs “undis­cutable mea­sure­ments”.

The re­port on the wide­spread emis­sions cheat­ing stated ex­ces­sive ni­tro­gen-ox­ide emis­sions in cities lead to the pre­ma­ture death of 72 000 EU ci­ti­zens an­nu­ally. The team who con­ducted did the probe blames the EU’s lax sys­tem of ve­hi­cle ap­proval for this lethal air qual­ity and added that fix­ing it will in­volve a series of steps, start­ing with en­force­ment of de­feat de­vice leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing re­call of cars. But ul­ti­mately “Europe must end its diesel ad­dic­tion”, states the re­port.

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