The latest component in the EQUA Index series, the new EQUA CO2 programme, shows the extent to which actual emissions of greenhouse gases from cars exceed the official figures on which our national objectives and vehicle taxation are based.
The new EQUA CO2 Index rates cars for their absolute level of CO2 emissions, and how close to their official figures they get. The prestigious “A1” rating is currently only achieved by one vehicle, a Citroen C3 diesel “A” representing the best absolute emissions, and “1” the accuracy factor.
Taking the car market as a whole, average real-world emissions of Euro 6 cars are 181 g/km of CO2 a figure that hasn’t improved since the previous, Euro 5, generation of car. Compared to the current legal fleet average target of 130 g/km of CO2, the new EQUA data shows that this legal target is being exceeded by 39%.
Average CO2 emissions from new petrol cars have fallen by 6% since 2012, when Emissions Analytics started collecting data. However, over the same period, the average emissions from diesel cars have risen by 5%. So, even though diesel engines remain lower-emitting than petrol in absolute terms, the gap is closing.
Nick Molden, CEO and founder of Emissions Analytics, said: “In recent years, we have been kidding ourselves about our actual achievement in reducing CO2 from cars. Encouraging official data has given a misleadingly positive impression. The new official world harmonised test will help close the gap, but only partially.”
Free real-world emissions data for 60,000 cars
Complementing the recently launched EQUA Mpg, which provides real-world fuel economy figures for more than 60,000 cars, the new CO2 data is derived from the largest independent on-road emissions testing programme in Europe. Delivering impartial and precise information, the results are openly published data.
Detailing the deviation between official and real world, the new EQUA CO2 Index provides a compelling resource for policymakers on the progress against our climate change goals, vehicle fleet operators assessing environmental impact and the motor industry itself.
Offering a simple scale that denotes each car’s performance, the new EQUA CO2 Index awards a universal rating regardless of fuel type. Banded from A1 to H5, it provides a simple way to evaluate emissions of this greenhouse gas. “A1” is the best (A) and most accurate (1) while “H5” is the worst (H) and furthest from the official number (5).
Offering a deeper dive into the same information that powers the company’s real-world fuel economy data for cars, the new index provides an invaluable resource for the motor industry, allowing it to track the emissions of the greenhouse gas in relation to other harmful pollutants. The programme joins the growing range of tools from Emissions Analytics, including EQUA Mpg, EQUA Aq, which measures real-world emissions of nitrogen oxides, and EQUA CO, for poisonous carbon monoxide.
As the leading independent authority on real-world emissions testing, Emissions Analytics has tested hundreds of cars in standardised, on-road conditions. Its test cycle delivers drastically more realistic figures than the new official fuel economy test, the World harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), set for introduction in 2017, which will still relies on laboratory-based testing.
With carbon dioxide seen as the major obstacle in addressing global warming, it’s estimated that cars are responsible for around 12% of total EU CO2 emissions. The law requires that new cars registered in the EU emit no more than an average of 130 g/km of CO2, judged as an average across manufacturers’ fleets. By 2021 the average to be achieved falls to 95 g/km.
The data within the new EQUA CO2 Index also reveals that 1.5-litre engines typically deliver the best real-world CO2, rather than the most heavily ‘down-sized’ units. Engines between 2.0 and 3.0-litres are typically closest to their official numbers, with around 40% of vehicles achieving the “1” accuracy rating.
The launch of the new EQUA CO2 Index also adds intelligence to the recent petrol versus diesel debate. The index’s data shows that, when comparing a range of engines in the real world, diesel engines typically generate 169 g/km of CO2, compared to 196 g/km for petrol units. This equates to a 16% difference in diesels’ favour when comparing like for like. Despite the recent controversy over manipulated NOx emissions, it underlines the fact that the manufacture of more petrol-powered vehicles, to address environmental concerns, could negatively impact CO2 pollution levels.