The updated laboratory test known as WLTP will make the testing of pollutants and CO2 more robust and the new RDE test will be used to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions

The updated laboratory test known as 'WLTP' will make the testing of pollutants and CO2 more robust and the new RDE test will be used to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions

Europe's Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has written to EC Vice President, Frans Timmermans, requesting what it refers to as more "reasonable" lead-times concerning the next package of the Real Driving Emissions Test.

With the third RDE package, the Commission is proposing legislation with what ACEA claims are "major implications" for manufacturing, which will give industry only a few months to comply.

"The automobile industry welcomes the introduction of stricter testing methods for the measurement of pollutant and CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans," said an ACEA statement. "The updated laboratory test known as 'WLTP' will make the testing of pollutants and CO2 more robust and the new RDE test will be used to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions.

"The RDE legislation will be implemented in EU law in two steps. The first step, starting from September, 2017, has been confirmed since the legislation was published in April, 2016. The second step of RDE, requiring major hardware changes, will apply from January, 2020.

"The European Commission chose to introduce this complex legislation in multiple packages, meaning proper planning by vehicle manufactures has become an almost impossible task. It is already the subject of two separate Regulations, published in March and April, 2016.

"Since then, manufacturers have had to accelerate their planning and make substantial investments to ensure vehicles are developed, designed and produced in time for the first RDE step. Two more RDE Regulations are due over the next six months."

The third part of this legislation is currently on the table, notes ACEA. RDE package 3 introduces significant new measures which would apply from September, 2017. The Commission intends to have this agreed by the regulatory committee on 20 December.

Assuming the scrutiny of the European Parliament passes without problem, adds ACEA, this indicates a publication date as late as May, 2017 and entry into force into EU law nearly a month later. It is only when scrutiny is successfully concluded that manufacturers will know with certainty what they must do to comply a few months later, and can finally proceed with their plans, says the association.

"The problem we face is very practical: this regulatory uncertainty simply leaves too little time for manufacturers to make the necessary changes to the design of vehicles, engines, exhaust systems and assembly lines," added ACEA secretary general, Erik Jonnaert.

"That is why manufacturers are calling for a reasonable approach with sufficient lead-time, fully in line with the principles of better regulation advocated by the Commission."

ACEA also expressed this request in its feedback to the public consultation.