July 24, 2018 / 10:02 PM / 9 months ago

Brussels fears carmakers manipulating emissions tests - FT

(Reuters) - The European Commission has found evidence that carmakers are already manipulating emissions for new climate rules that take effect in 2020, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The EC's Joint Research Centre, or JRC, said it found evidence from 114 data sets that indicate some automakers were "configuring their test vehicles in such a way that the measured Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) are inflated", the FT said, citing an unpublished briefing in which no specific carmakers were mentioned. (on.ft.com/2LlaNoT)

The new WLTP is based on real-driving data rather than theoretical scenarios.

Belgium cites “a clear risk” that automakers are creating an “artificial increase” in emissions values for 2020, a transition year when a new baseline will be set for emissions against which future cuts will be measured, the FT report added.

“By manipulating WLTP, they are cheating the 2025/2030 targets even before they have been agreed”, clean energy group Transport & Environment Executive Director William Todts was quoted by FT as saying.

The JRC said test data from two cars found a deliberate distortion. Tests were carried out starting with a depleted battery so that additional fuel was consumed to charge the battery during the test, according to the report.

The stop-start function, the system that shuts down the engine when idle to cut emissions, was disabled and there were gear-shifting strategies in which cars were driven in gears that would cause a significant rise in carbon dioxide emissions, the report added, citing JRC’s findings.

The Joint Research Centre did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler

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