ClientEarth welcomes the Commission’s intention to increase transparency around vehicle testing, but is disappointed that, in several other aspects, the proposal falls short of the level of ambition needed to ensure strong and reliable RDE and WLTP testing.
The confidentiality requirement in the current version of Article 5, paragraph 11, of Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 is unlawful for breach of binding access to information rules in environmental matters. ClientEarth is pursuing an action before the General Court of the European Union (Case T-677/17), seeking the partial annulment of the provision. ClientEarth, therefore, welcomes the proposal to amend the provision and delete the confidentiality requirement to bring it into compliance with transparency rules.
ClientEarth welcomes also the steps to make the ISC process more transparent, providing for the publication of a package on Testing Transparency. However, the Transparency List in Appendix 5 should be amended to include information not only on CO2 emissions, but also on emissions of pollutants (including NOx).
Furthermore, the requirement in point 5.2 of Annex II that the test results may only be disclosed to the public after the publication by the granting type approval authority (GTAA) of the annual report should deleted, because such limitation on the right of access to the test results is contrary to binding transparency rules.
(b) Independent third parties tests
Third parties tests are an essential safeguard – without third parties scrutiny in the US, the Volkswagen scandal would have not been discovered. It is disappointing that the proposal does not allow in-service conformity (ISC) tests by independent third parties.
(c) Compulsory annual ISC checks by GTAA
ClientEarth supports the introduction of such compulsory checks. However, the proposed level of 5% of PEMS families tested every year per manufacturer is too low and should be raised to at least 20%. It is essential that, initially, more cars are tested to identify all outstanding issues. The volume can be progressively lowered once the ISC results show consistent compliance with emission regulations across families and different testing conditions.
(d) Fuel consumption meters
ClientEarth welcomes the proposal to make fuel consumption meters compulsory. Robust and accurate fuel consumption meters are essential to address the growing gap between the officially declared fuel consumption values and on road performance.
The proposal should, however, be improved in order to extend the obligation to use meters on all powertrain technologies and to provide access to data by third parties.
(e) NOx Conformity Factor
ClientEarth is extremely disappointed by the proposal to reduce the PEMS NOx margin from 0.5 to only 0.43, even if the Commission's own analysis shows that the margin of uncertainty is as low as 0.24.
The Euro 6 Regulation grants the Commission the power to adopt implementing measures only to amend non-essential aspects of the basic regulation. The exercise of such implementing power should be based on sound technical evidence, not on political reasons. The decision to apply a conformity factor of 0.43 (higher than the margin of uncertainty of 0.24 resulting from the Commission’s analysis) represents a political decision to alter the NOx emission limit laid down in the Euro 6 Regulation. As such, the 0.43 margin exceeds the scope of the Commission’s implementing powers.
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