The European Commission has previewed its new legislation on developing safer, cleaner vehicles, following its adoption by the European Parliament.
Developing safer, cleaner vehicles is a priority for the European Commission, particularly in light of the targets set as part of the EU’s commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement. Transport represents almost 20% of the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions, and developing smarter and more efficient vehicles is part of a suite of measures to address this.
The legislation, which is expected to enter into force in 2020, will raise the quality level and independence of type-approval testing for vehicles, and ensure that those models which fail testing under real driving conditions will not be allowed to be placed on the European market.
What has the commission proposed?
The commission will regularly and independently audit the technical services designed to test new car models, to ensure they meet stringent performance criteria. Further, the legislation will establish accreditation bodies in each member state to assess and certify technical services.
Further, the EU will establish an enforcement forum, which will co-ordinate a network of national authorities responsible for type-approval testing, and which can administer penalties to companies which do not comply with standards. Penalties will be subject to the discretion of member states, although the regulation will also enable the commission to levy penalties of its own.
An additional factor to ensure companies are developing safer, cleaner vehicles is the presence of a mandate for manufacturers to provide access to data of vehicle software, to ensure that the commission is able to undertake external checks for defeat devices, such as those used by Volkswagen to cheat on emissions tests during the Dieselgate scandal.
Finally, the legislation enshrines in law the Real Driving Emissions test, which was developed by a European Commission technical committee to allow for the testing of new models under typical road conditions, monitoring particulate matter and other emissions which pose a threat to human health.