Sunday 17 December 2017

Study says many new cars emitting far higher levels of diesel toxins

Volkswagen Irelan's managing director Lars Himmer is being invited to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee later this month
Volkswagen Irelan's managing director Lars Himmer is being invited to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee later this month
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Many new cars are emitting far higher levels of dangerous diesel toxins when tested under real-world conditions, a new study claims.

The research was compiled by Europe’s largest motoring organisation, ADAC, which has more than 18 million members.

Its analysis claims that many of the new diesel cars it examined released up to 10 times more NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides) under more stringent standards than they did under current EU tests.

The cars meet existing official Euro 6 emission figures and are not in any way involved in the current Volkswagen scandal. 

ADAC says it put the diesel cars through the EU’s lab-based regulatory test (NEDC) and then compared its findings with those from WLTC trials which are longer but regarded as a better guide to real driving conditions.

Only a quarter of the 79 cars tested using the WLTC standard matched their official figures under the EU test. The WLTC is expected to be introduced by the EU in 2017 though there are doubts it will be so soon. The ADAC tests were carried out at the organisations high-tech centre in Bavaria and are reported in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper.

Peter Mock, a member of the team at the International Council on Clean Transportation who exposed the Volkswagen diesel scandal, is quoted as saying the ADAC test centre was “absolutely trustworthy”.

The findings will apply further pressure for C02 and NO2 emissions to be assessed under more typical driving conditions.

Meanwhile, thousands of cars that were imported from the UK will swell the numbers in the Volkswagen recall here.

More than 66,000 Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT diesels were imported to Ireland between 2009 and 2014, according to an analysis by the Irish Independent.

Among them were large numbers of VW Golfs (2,379 last year alone), Audi A4s (2,443 in 2011, for example) and A3s (639 in 2013).

These and other VW group cars, such as the Skoda Octavia and Superb, were popular with Irish buyers, who regarded them as better value than Irish-based vehicles. While not all of them would have the controversial emissions-cheating software, the volume suggests that a good proportion may be affected.

Estimates of the number of all cars involved in Ireland range from 50,000, though some sources now say that there could be over 100,000 affected. Around 1.2 million of the VW Group’s vehicles sold in the UK are fitted with the software.

They include 508,276 Volkswagens, 393,450 Audis, 76,733 Seats and 131,569 Skodas, as well as 79,838 vans.


Volkswagen will begin contacting owners over the next few weeks. It also intends to present plans to resolve the  problems with the vehicles to regulators later this month. However, it is being speculated that

fixing pollution-control systems on the 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide could require changes to both software and hardware.

The company has set aside €6.5bn towards the cost. Motorists will not have to pay for any refit. The company is stressing that the vehicles are safe and roadworthy.

Volkswagen Ireland is expected to announce details for here shortly. Its managing director, Lars Himmer, is being invited to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee later this month.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is also awaiting a reply from Mr Himmer after asking for an ‘urgent’ meeting.

Irish Independent

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