After Volkswagen, pinned in September to a massive cheating polluting emissions, now the French manufacturer Renault is pointed for the diesel version of its popular SUV Area.
An association of public interest environmental, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Save the Environment of Germany), says the space emits between 13 and 25 times the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) authorized by environmental law of the European Union.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe says the area does not meet the European standard exhaust emissions when the engine is hot. To meet the standard of 80 mg NOx per kilometer, the engine should be cold and the vehicle must have undergone special preparation the day before (this preparation is prescribed by the body that tests the emissions in Europe to ensure the consistency of measurements and the comparability of results from one vehicle to another).
“Any deviation from this preconditioning, where all test done when the engine was hot rather than cold, gave emissions measurements (polluting) to levels we have not seen before,” said Jürgen Resch, head of Deutsche Umwelthilfe. This NGO is described by the European media as long diesel whistleblower.
2061 mg NOx per kilometer
The environmental organization has commissioned nine different tests in the laboratory of the High Specialized School of Berne (Swiss university). Eight of these tests reproduce the cycle of Euro 6 trials in the European Union. The ninth test, done under real road conditions, was designed by Deutsche Umwelthilfe. Space has managed only two tests, only with the engine cold.
During the test house is in the streets of Bern and surrounding Espace issued 2061 mg NOx per kilometer during a test under real road conditions made in Switzerland. Since last September, the European standard “Euro 6b” is 80 mg / km, but a committee has allowed a tolerance of 110% until 2019 to offset the fact that the tests will be done in real conditions from 2017 (and either in the laboratory on a dynamometer, as at present).
Interestingly, Deutsche Umwelthilfe not accusing Renault for putting, like Volkswagen, a software on purpose to identify and foil the test dynamometer.
In fact, it is the system of measuring emissions itself, as much as Renault, which is denounced as lax, to the detriment of public health. Breathe nitrogen oxides – ultrafine particles absorbed into the blood when inhaled – can trigger serious respiratory problems and exacerbate already-reported heart disease.
With this test, “it becomes clear that we can not continue with the current test procedure; we need a comprehensive reconstruction of the system “Environmental approval of vehicles, said Axel Friedrich, a transport expert quoted by Deutsche Umwelthilfe.
As pollutants in the 80s
“We have not seen emissions at this level since the late 80s, with the adoption of European emission limits. It is incredible that the alleged modern cars, which pollute the air as well, are on the roads, “says Friedrich.
Renault has denied the allegations: “Renault Espace recalls that, like all its vehicles sold, meets the regulations,” said the French manufacturer in a statement. Renault says that the testing procedures used by the Swiss laboratory “not all comply with European regulations and have wide variations in results,” which, as noted in the report, require “additional measures” and are therefore not conclusive. “However, Renault is making every effort to understand the details of these results. Especially in August 2015, the independent German organization ADAC has tested the Space model and published the latter met the standard. ”
Deutsche Umwelthilfe is not the only organization to criticize the relevance and realism of diesel emissions testing. Just after the outbreak of Volkswagen cheating scandal last September, the ADAC (German automobile club) had said several diesel vehicles all have excess emissions 10 times with Euro 6b.
At the same time Deutsche Umwelthilfe had also denounced the Zafira Opel (GM’s European subsidiary) to the German Ministry of Transport.
Volkswagen acknowledged using since 2009 a program for cheating at US and European tests of NOx emissions. Eleven million polluting vehicles up to 35 times more than the standard are concerned.