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New and improved car emissions tests become mandatory on 1 September

New and improved car emissions tests become mandatory on 1 September
Published on: 04/09/2017
As of 1 September 2017, new car models will have to pass new and more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions ('Real Driving Emissions' – RDE) as well as an improved laboratory test ('World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure' – WLTP) before they can be driven on European roads.

The Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen said: "The new emissions tests are a milestone in our ongoing work for cleaner and more sustainable cars over the coming years. But more remains to be done. The emissions scandal has shown that we need more independence in car testing, stronger market surveillance and the possibility for the Commission to intervene in case of wrongdoing. The Commission presented a proposal in January 2016 to achieve just that. It has been on the table since and it is high time that the European Parliament and Council adopt it. And we need to decisively pursue EU-wide efforts to foster low emissions mobility."

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: 

"A quick shift to zero emissions vehicles is in all our interest given the public health and environmental risks at stake. And it's crucial for the car industry if it wants to remain internationally competitive. 

But for the time being, diesel cars remain part of our lives and we must rebuild confidence in this technology. That is why having new and more reliable tests for new cars is essential. And for cars already on the road, Member States must do their job, enforce the law and take additional steps, together with all stakeholders, to bring down emissions of the existing fleet."

The new emissions tests will ensure more reliable results and help to rebuild confidence in the performance of new cars. The tests represent one of the several important steps in the Commission's work for a clean, sustainable and competitive car industry

  • More robust and accurate emissions tests: NOx and particulate emissions, which are a major cause of air pollution, will be measured more reliably in real driving conditions (RDE test). This test will complement a new, more realistic laboratory test procedure (WLTP test) for all emissions including CO2 and fuel consumption as well as NOx and other air pollutants. Both tests will become mandatory from September 2017 for all new car models and will be phased in for all new cars between 2018-2019 (for details see MEMO/17/2821).
  • Full overhaul of the type approval system: Once adopted, the Commission's proposal for a Regulation of January 2016 will ensure greater quality and independence of vehicle testing, more surveillance of cars already in circulation, and introduce EU oversight into the system.
  • Air quality standards: Member States have to comply with EU limit values for a number of pollutants, including NO2, and establish air quality plans for the zones or agglomerations where these limit values are exceeded.
  • Low emissions mobility: The European Strategy for low-emission mobility aims at increasing the efficiency of the transport system; speeding up the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, and moving towards zero-emission vehicles. This focuses on a range of low-emissions alternative energy options for passenger cars and buses, as well as an emphasis on electrification in rail transport and biofuels in aviation, lorries and coaches. The Commission also plans to adopt an Action Plan for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure to enhance the broadest use of alternative fuels in Europe by November 2017.

Further information

Full press release on the new and improved car emissions tests

MEMO/17/2821: EU action to curb air pollution by cars

Press release on the type approval proposal