Renault on clean exhausts
Other carmakers also guilty of cheating European emission tests
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.