Motor industry counts down to new emission regulations

The UK motor industry is counting down the final 100 days until new stricter Euro 6 vehicle emissions regulations come into force in September

The UK motor industry is counting down the final 100 days until new stricter European vehicle emissions regulations come into force in September, claiming that UK vehicle manufacturers are “ahead of the game” with more consumers already purchasing Euro 6 cars in increasing numbers.

SMMT claims UK buyers have a "huge range" of Euro 6 cars to choose from

SMMT claims UK buyers have a “huge range” of Euro 6 cars to choose from

EU vehicle exhaust emission standards have been in place and gradually tightened since 1992, and from September 1 2015, all new cars registered will be required to meet Euro 6 exhaust emission standards for a number of air pollutants.

And, ahead of the tightening of regulations, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was demonstrating its commitment to the new standards by showcasing the industry’s latest Euro 6 cars today (May 21) at its ‘key’ industry event SMMT Test Day.

According to SMMT’s latest figures, with three months to go until September, around half of new car buyers already opted for Euro 6 cars last month — a number which has been increasing.

In April 2015, almost one out of every two new cars registered (45.9%) boasted Euro-6 technology, compared with fewer than one in five (18.7%) in September 2014. Meanwhile, 70.4% of the UK’s top 10 best-sellers registered last month met the Euro 6 standard.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:

“With 100 days still to go until the new Euro-6 standard becomes mandatory, new car buyers are shifting to these next-generation vehicles. This is the result of huge investment from manufacturers in clean technology — and the quicker we get these Euro-6 cars onto the roads, the quicker we’ll see improvements in air quality.”

SMMT said the latest Euro 6 technology vehicles emit “virtually zero” particulate matter, while nitrogen oxide emissions “are more than half those of previous generation motors built in the past five years”. It also said the latest vehicles “boast the lowest CO2 emissions on record”.

However, the EU currently regulates vehicle emissions through laboratory testing of exhausts rather than testing vehicles in real-world driving situations on the road.

As a result, the EU plans were approved this week (May 19) to introduce a real-world driving emissions test procedure, probably in 2017, as European Commission said it was “well aware under real driving conditions, NOx emissions of diesel vehicles are significantly above regulated emission limits” (see story).

It follows SMMT’s ‘myth busting’ campaign launched earlier this year to challenge the “increasing demonisation of diesel” vehicles, with campaigners often criticising diesels for their impact on air quality (see story).

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