Filling station pumpsThe European Commission has approved a new Real Driving Emission (RDE) test in response to criticisms the current NEDC fuel economy test is outdated and misleading.

From 2017, the RDE test will become part of the type approval process for all cars sold in Europe. It will include an element of ‘real world’ driving using a portable emissions measurement system.

This means that emissions testing will move outside the laboratory for the first time, enabling real-world driving emissions to be compared with laboratory-tested results.

The news comes after The Sunday Times and testing company Emissions Analytics discovered that many Euro 6 diesel cars far exceeded lab-tested results in real-world driving.

The average variance was a hefty 4.4 times the legislated limit but some cars were far worse, particularly in terms of NOx emissions.

The firm did, however, report improvements over outgoing Euro 5 emissions of nearly 50%; “We believe the manufacturers, anticipating this legislative change, have really stepped up their game and the results are encouraging, although still mixed,” said Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden.

Car makers agree – but are concerned

European car manufacturers have agreed that “a new and fully updated Real Driving Emissions test is needed to better measure NOx emissions”.

The European car makers association, ACEA, did however add that “the decision is by no means the end of the discussion on RDE, as what was greed is just a partial set of evaluation conditions for real driving emissions”.

Mr Jonnaert, Secretary General of ACEA said: “ACEA calls on the Commission to urgently deliver a complete proposal for Real Driving Emissions by June or July at the latest for a positive decision in the regulatory committee. We need to make more progress on clarifying all testing conditions to ensure a robust RDE regulation could commence from September 2017.”

He did add that car makers are worried. “Automobile manufacturers remain concerned about the piecemeal approach the Commission is taking in preparing this proposal.

“This is not smart regulation. We need clarity in advance so that we can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with the new requirements.”