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UK government: Only VW cheated tests

However, fallout from VW scandal spreading to other manufacturers

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A UK Government investigation into the emissions levels of new cars has concluded that only Volkswagen used a ‘defeat device’ to falsify emissions tests.

The study, conducted in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, also concluded to little surprise that all 37 models tested had higher nitrogen oxide levels in real-world motoring than recorded in laboratory tests.

“Our tests have not detected evidence of test cycle manipulation strategies as used by the Volkswagen Group,” the Government report stated.

“However, tests have found higher levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in test track and real-world driving conditions than in the laboratory for all manufacturer’s vehicles, with results varying significantly between different makes and models.”

In subsequent discussions with manufacturers, the Government testers were told that the emissions control strategy for NOx is less effective at lower temperatures in order to ensure durability and protect the engine from damage. Manufacturers also stated that the unrepresentative nature of the current laboratory type approval test, the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) would have contributed to the distortion compared to published test figures.

Further improvements to regulations required

The report states that further improvements to regulations are necessary to avoid future uncertainties in emissions testing, and adds that manufacturers need to work hard to quickly improve the emissions performance of their vehicles ahead of new European regulations soon to be introduced.

These will include the ‘Real Driving Emissions’ test, which the UK claims to have secured. It will be introduced in stages across Europe from 2017 and include some tests reflecting normal use of cars.

“Even before the introduction of the new requirements, we are urging manufacturers to introduce new technologies to reduce emissions sooner than the new EU regulations require,” the report states.

“Some manufacturers have announced that they intend to make changes to vehicles already in use, to improve emissions, and will offer this to customers on a voluntary basis – we welcome this and encourage action from other manufacturers.”

Volkswagen agrees deal with US government

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has reached ‘an agreement in principle’ with the US Government over the approximately 480,000 vehicles affected by the emissions scandal in America.

Options offered to affected owners include buying back their car, cancelling leases or having their cars modified, subject to the US State Department approving the modifications.

IN a decision by a US District Judge, all owners will be offered “substantial compensation” and VW will establish a fund to both compensate for the environmental damage done by the excess nitrogen oxide emissions from its engines, and to promote environmentally friendly car technology.

More manufacturers under investigation

The fallout from the VW scandal is continuing. This week the offices of PSA Group, parent company of Peugeot and Citroën, was raided by emissions investigators from the French Government. PSA insists its cars are fully compliant with emissions regulations and it is fully complying with any investigations.

Meanwhile in Japan, Mitsubishi’s offices were raided after the manufacturer admitted falsifying fuel consumption figures on Japanese-market cars.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.