On Friday, The Guardian released a report stating that, although no sustainable evidence have been found yet, other car companies besides Volkswagen are cheating on their diesel tests.

The British journal made the assumption based on data acquired from Emission Analytics. They have an on-the-road testing programme, very similar to the real-world test the European commission wants to introduce after the Volkswagen scandal.

Almost half of the Volkswagen cars in Europe affected by the diesel emissions scandal require major hardware changes – including the installation of new parts – in order to meet pollution standards.. Credit: Shutterstock

Nick Molden, CEO of Emissions Analytics, said the report was “rubbish” and that “The higher readings in real world testing are not a surprise and do not indicate that any of the manufacturers whose vehicles were tested did anything illegal. They picked up the data (and used it) to imply that four other manufacturers have been conducting illegal activities,” said in an exclusive interview to The Detroit Bureau.

The four manufacturers joining the list, according to the report, are Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Mercedes-Benz. All four car companies responded to the report, stating that their cars obey the regulations.

European tests are not very reliable

Why do vehicles pass the test but exceed the pollution limits on the road? Molden and other experts said, “The tests were never intended to reflect those real world conditions and standards developed for the lab are almost never achieved on city streets or highways”.

When being tested in Europe, cars aren’t being put through uphill climbs, weather changes or high acceleration, conditions that can modify the results. “You’ve got a very gentle test cycle with a lot of loopholes in it,” Molden said of the EU testing. When the vehicle was previously warmed up, or when it’s running down a highway, these diesel motors produce almost no NOx.

Advantages of using Diesel

According to experts, diesel engines are highly vulnerable to emissions spikes of NOx due to the mechanics of the model. The fuel injected into the combustion chamber is initiated by the high temperature reached by the gas when it is compressed, allowing it to be more efficient than other engines.

Diesel models deliver more torque and show better mileage than gasoline engines. Also, they burn less fuel than gasoline motors, have a more reliable low-voltage ignition system, their longevity is about twice than petrol engines, and the carbon monoxide content of the exhaust is minimal.

The latest diesel models developed a system that reduces the emissions, using new injection technology and turbochargers. Five on these new models are matching the test in the road, according to Molden, though he refused to identify them.

Prof. Thiruvengadam, of WVU, said, “Short emissions spikes will likely be the norm for diesels. What matters most is that, on the whole, they are much cleaner than ever,” according to The Detroit Bureau.

Goal: Accurate Testing

Experts believe the new testing methods, which are more accurate to real-life conditions, have to be implemented in order to reduce the NOx emissions. This nitric oxide can be harmful to the lungs, besides the effects it has on global warming.

“These new test results (from Emissions Analytics) prove that the Volkswagen scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. What we are seeing here is a ‘dieselgate’ that covers many brands and many different car models,” said Greg Archer, an emissions expert at Transport & Environment. “The only solution is a strict new test that takes place on the road and verified by an authority not paid by the car industry,” according to The Guardian.

Source: The Detroit Bureau