VW scandal fallout shows countries lobbied for flawed emission tests

24 Sep 2015

As the Volkswagen (VW) scandal continues to shake the car industry, new leaked documents have revealed that the UK, French and German governments all lobbied for loopholes that would hide real emission quantities during testing.

The VW scandal has already seen the company’s chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, understandably resign from his role, along with a pension of €28m, for his part in being head of a company that installed devices that hid true emission results during testing.

But now, according to The Guardian, leaked documents reveal that three of Europe’s largest countries have been rather eager to massage the emissions results in their own countries.

While calling for a European-wide investigation following the revelations found in the VW scandal, these new leaked documents appear to show that the UK, France and Germany were looking for loopholes themselves only four months ago.

The aim was to try carry over some of the loopholes that were found in the NEDC procedure first run in 1970 to the future World Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which will begin in 2017.

Tests should be judged downhill

In doing so, the emissions limits of these cars would push the quantity of CO2 being released to 110g per kilogram, which would not only push it significantly above the EU limits, but hike up fuel bills for consumers up by €140 per year.

Germany in particular is being criticised for its involvement in the hiding of true emission statistics by calling for tests to be conducted on downhill and giving manufacturers the ability to declare a final CO2 amount that would be 4pc lower than what was actually found.

The final damage to the environment by enacting these loopholes would see CO2 emissions rise to 14pc more than what would have been claimed.

Speaking of the findings, the clean vehicles manager of UK-based Transport and Environment Think Tank, Greg Archer, said: “It is unacceptable that governments which rightly demand an EU inquiry into the VW’s rigging of air pollution tests are simultaneously lobbying behind the scenes to continue the rigging of CO2 emissions tests.”

Exhaust pipe image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic