Renault diesel emissions way over limit: green group

Reuters Berlin/London | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 24, 2015

Not so clean A Renault Espace on display in Les Sorinieres, near Nantes, France REUTERS

French co’s Espace minivan found to release emissions 25 times higher than the EU limit

Renault’s flagship Espace minivan released toxic diesel emissions 25 times over legal limits in a Swiss study despite complying with EU tests carried out at unrealistically low engine temperatures, a German green group said on Tuesday.

The tests commissioned by the green lobby group DUH, which have not been independently verified, will add to pressure on carmakers and lawmakers in the wake of the scandal over Volkswagen’s admission that it used illegal “defeat devices” to cheat diesel regulations.

Environmental and consumer groups are leading calls for improved European Union tests to bring soaring real-world emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide into line with legal limits.

The DUH, which had earlier singled out General Motors’ Opel brand over results suggesting high NOx emissions outside the regulator’s lab, turned its fire on France’s Renault in a report commissioned from the University of Applied Sciences in Bern.

The cold truth

When run with a warm or hot engine, a 1.6-litre Espace of the latest Euro 6 diesel generation emitted up to 2.06 gm of NOx per kilometre, the campaign group said, more than 25 times the EU limit. The vehicle met the statutory 80 milligramme cap only with a cold engine after “specific pre-conditioning”.

Renault did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

Tuesday’s DUH findings may shed light on the real-world impact of optimising engines to pass tests when cold - which would be another tactic allowed by the current regime.

The DUH study was published in co-operation with the Washington-based International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which commissioned the original investigation that led eventually to the outing of VW.

“It’s unbelievable that so-called modern diesel vehicles that damage the air we breathe in this way are on the road today,” ICCT co-founder Axel Friedrich said in a statement.

Europe needs a “comprehensive reorganisation of the system in which mandatory regular controls on the street are integrated”, he said.

EU moves to phase in real-world emissions measurements were watered down in committee last month under sustained German-led lobbying.

Published on November 24, 2015
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