Transport & Environment Association (ETA) published a study revealing the ways in which the cars are “doped” to consume 40% less than the official tests emission and fuel consumption. The biggest differences are for Daimler, Peugeot-Citroen and General Motors.
A recent study recognized by the European Commission demonstrates what was already known: the new cars sold in Europe emit and consume on average 40% more in normal road conditions than official figures from the data sheets. This is the conclusion of the European group ETA from UK, which analyzes the environmental protection in the automotive industry and report the results of his investigations to the European Commission.
The difference between actual fuel consumption and the official in Europe: 40%
According to results released by ETA for the analysis conducted in 2014, the differences between consumption and emission testing lab and the actual figures of production cars increased steadily from 1998 until today. If in 2001 we were talking about only 5% average difference between official data and fact, the percentage rose to 40% in 2014.
The differences are not given so running mode of each driver but, say engineers analyzed the situation on the ground, various stratagems legal or illegal, and yet undiscovered, that the automakers use in the official test cycles after which the cars receive the European Union certification.
If those “artificial technicalities” went down by 5% real consumption in the test laboratory in 2011, the percentage rose to 24% in 2015, which means that the official figures of consumption are “lowered” artificial one quarter only that producers take advantage of various “holes” in the test system. If manufacturers would not use these tricks, the results from tests of the cars would be 19-28% higher than what we see in the data sheets.
“Legal stratagems” for low consumption at the official tests
To lower figures in the datasheets, auto manufacturers do not necessarily use illegal software, as happened in the case of Volkswagen, but a series of “tricks”. These include over inflated tires on the test car, altered camber tire, the use of special lubricants which temporarily improve performance, optimize board computer and Transmission, disconnecting the alternator during the test, pressing the brake pads in the calipers or taping the edges of the elements of the body. A complete list of these gimmicks borderline of legality is reflected in the chart below (click on photo to enlarge):
There are car brands whose models “succeed” consistently bigger fuel consumption by 50% compared to official tests, and this may not be due, say those from ETA, than installing software like that used by Volkswagen – which started the global scandal involving 11 million diesel cars.
“Such large differences can not be explained by the known tweaks and suggests other reasons as use of a ‘defeat devices’ which are designed to produce artificially low figures from tests by changing the way they operate the engine”, says engineers from Transport & Environment Association in the published press release. “This is perfectly plausible. Some cars come equipped now with ‘ECO modes’, which changes the way the engine works. Such a system, which detects the moment the car is tested, could therefore be used on a wider range than in the Volkswagen scandal.”
No tricks – only Toyota would comply with the EU rules in 2015
The fact that producers ‘abuse’ deemed legal chicanery lead to flawed results that lead, in turn, to a situation where all the brands have managed to rise to the emission limits required by the European Union in 2015. “Analysis of the progress that manufacturers they have done to achieve emissions targets shows that only Toyota had managed to stay under the legal emission limits if any builder would be abused European tests flexibility,” said ETA.
“It is therefore perfectly possible for a carmaker to manage to achieve below the maximum legal figures , even without excessivlu handling the tests, but today it seems that almost all car companies rely on measurements that help them achieve their lab goals instead of developing really effective cars.“
The results have been published using data provided by 600,000 cars in the European Union. According to them, the builders for differences between laboratory test and the real life are very high are in order, Daimler, PSA Peugeot-Citroen and General Motors, manufacturers whose cars use on average 50% more fuel than technical shown in their records.
On the other hand, the smallest differences were felt for Fiat and Toyota. Paradoxically, although it is in these moments studied by authorities from all continents, the Volkswagen succeed to rank below the average differences, with 36%, on tie with Ford, but below Renault and BMW.
450 EUR: the annual cost of the difference between real-world and official fuel consumption
“Volkswagen scandal is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Greg Archer, one of the managers of ETA. According to him, which bodes differences between the official consumption delivered by the carmakers and the real-world consumption is costing drivers an average of 450 EUR per year.
The solution proposed by Transport & Environment Association to avoid such problems in the future is obviously changing consumption and emissions tests across the European Union. If the laboratory tests would be changed with some real-world, the average emissions of diesel cars sold in Europe would increase from 123 grams CO2 / km, as is currently 170 grams CO2 / km. For petrol engines, as the difference between the actual average official 126 grams of CO2 / km and 168 g CO2 / km, average real.
The entire analysis can be accessed via: http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/publications/TE_Mind_the_Gap_2015_FINAL.pdf