RAC calls for more stringent lab tests following VW emissions scandal

Following the #dieselgate scandal, the RAC has said that more stringent lab tests are needed that truly replicate ‘real word’ driving.

But the motoring organisation insists that on-road tests on their own are not the answer as they are not repeatable or reliable enough to ensure reliable results.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “The test method needs to be more representative of real-world driving, with the caveat, of course, that it will never completely mirror a car being driven on a real road by different drivers.”

A new worldwide laboratory test – set to be introduced in Europe within the next two years – aims to address this by incorporating a wider range of vehicle operating conditions with four test modes of low, medium, high and extra high. This will account for urban, rural, motorway and autobahn environments in real-world driving terms.

Bizley added: “This is a positive step as vehicles are known to emit more nitrogen oxides at higher speeds, and under heavier loads, which current tests do not take sufficient account of. It is also important to note that this may lead to vehicles being found to emit greater quantities of nitrogen oxides than current test results indicate.

“What is needed to ensure production vehicles meet the standards is a robust protocol involving not just a laboratory test but also an on-road ‘conformity’ test which cannot easily be identified by the vehicle’s software. This way vehicles found to have drastically differing results would be automatically identified and investigated.”

By combining a lab test with an on-road test, the RAC says the difference between claimed MPG figures and true economy figures will be reduced.

More on the VW Group scandal on Motoring Research