BMW 335d Touring xDrive

Data shows modern diesel cars emit low pollutants

BMW 335d Touring xDrive

BMW 335d Touring xDrive

Diesel cars are accused in the media of contributing to poor levels of local air quality, but a new survey shows that the very latest diesel cars are much cleaner than older vehicles.

New data released by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) provides evidence that latest-generation diesel cars emit low pollutant emissions on the road. This data was measured in real-driving conditions by the drivers of the various national type approval authorities.

Some 270 new types of diesel cars type-approved against the latest Euro 6d-TEMP standard were introduced on the European market over the past year. The new data shows that all of these diesel cars performed well below the NOx threshold of the real driving emissions (RDE) test, which applies to all new car types since September 2017. Most of these vehicles show results that are below the stricter NOx threshold that will be mandatory from January 2020.

RDE measures key pollutants, such as NOx and particles, emitted by cars while driven on public roads over a wide range of conditions. RDE therefore ensures that pollutant emission levels measured during the laboratory test (WLTP) are confirmed on the road, and that the legal thresholds are not exceeded during day-to-day driving.

Each of these 270 RDE-compliant diesel vehicle types represents a whole ‘family’ of similar cars of differing variants, so a multitude of low-emitting diesel cars are now available on the market. The German automobile club, ADAC, estimates that there are more than 1,200 different RDE-compliant cars available today, and their availability is increasing rapidly.

Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General, said: “These new findings prove that modern diesel cars, supported by fleet renewal policies and combined with alternative powertrains, will play a strong role in helping cities move towards compliance with air quality targets. In parallel, diesel vehicles will continue to remain important for reducing CO2 emissions in the short and medium term, even though all manufacturers are expanding their offer of electric cars.”

“Auto makers have made major investments to quickly deliver these massive reductions in NOx emissions. It is important that we stop demonising diesel technology as a whole. Instead, we need to differentiate between the old diesel fleet and the latest generation of vehicles.”

These findings are supported by third parties. ADAC recently performed independent on-road testing of RDE-compliant diesel vehicles and found that modern diesels emit 85% less NOx on average than Euro 5 cars, concluding that the latest diesels are “very clean”. Their additional testing demonstrated that the best-performing RDE-compliant Euro 6 diesels emit as much as 95-99% less NOx than Euro 5 vehicles.

RDE results for individual vehicles can be found at: https://www.acea.be/publications/article/access-to-euro-6-rde-monitoring-data

ADAC overview of RDE-compliant cars available on the market (counting 1,206 different vehicles on 30 October 2018): https://www.adac.de/infotestrat/umwelt-und-innovation/abgas/modelle_mit_euro_6d_temp/

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