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RDE and NOx Limits

On 13 December 2018, the European Union Court of First Instance ruled that Regulation 715/2007, by which the European Commission raised the emission limits for nitrogen oxides for testing new light passenger cars and commercial vehicles, is partially invalid. According to the ruling of 13 December 2018, the Commission was not authorised to amend the Euro 6 emission limits for the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test, which the Commission set by applying conformity factors to the Euro 6 limits in order to compensate for statistical and technical inaccuracies. The Court's judgment primarily challenged the legislative procedure. The Commission was not entitled to amend the limit values of RDE tests with an implementing act. Instead, this would have been introduced by an ordinary legislative procedure involving the European Parliament and the Council. In order to avoid legal uncertainty regarding type approvals already granted since 1 September 2017, the Court of First Instance postponed the effects of the annulment by a maximum of 12 months in order to give the Commission sufficient time to implement the judgment. With this proposal, the Commission intends to reintroduce the previously adopted conformity factors.

In Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is the lead committee. The Committee on Transport (TRAN) and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) will deliver opinions on the ENVI report. The responsible rapporteur of the ENVI Committee, Mr. De Lange (EPP), considers it appropriate to reintroduce in the Regulation compliance factors and a margin of error resulting from statistical and technical uncertainties of portable emission measurement systems (PEMS). Amendments to the current report are intended in particular to clarify that the compliance factor consists of the emission limit values and the instrument-related margin of error. In addition, the Commission is empowered to revise the conformity factors downwards on a yearly basis in the light of improved quality of the measurement procedure or technical progress of PEMS. In addition, the rapporteur calls on the Commission to present its proposal for the period after Euro 6 by mid-2021.

The published opinion of the TRAN Committee is largely concerned with clarifications of the existing text. In the IMCO Committee's opinion, MEPs emphasise the protection of individuals who should not be penalised for nitrogen from diesel engines or particles from direct injection petrol engines. The committee also stresses the importance of transparency and access to repair and maintenance information. Also, a “satisfactory compensation” in the form of a “hardware change” or the “offer of conversion premiums”.


- JRC Technical Report. - 'Good to know: What is RDE?', EAC news blog, 24 March 2020. - 'Good to know: What are conformity factors?', EAC news blog, 25 March 2020.


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