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Carmakers face big fines from EU over emissions

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Five European car firms will miss the targets set by the EU, which require new car fleets to not emit more than an average of 95g of CO2 per kilometre

A study has revealed that several carmakers are likely to incur fines of hundreds of millions of euros by missing EU-mandated emissions reduction targets.

According to an analysis by PA Consulting Group, five European car firms will miss the targets set by the EU, which require new car fleets to not emit more than an average of 95g of CO2 per kilometre.

The EU plans to fine manufacturers €95 for every gram of CO2 above company-specific targets, multiplied by the number of cars they sell in 2020. The PA analysis therefore estimates that BMW will need to budget for €350 million in penalty payments, Fiat Chrysler €600 million and Volkswagen up to €1 billion.

Carmakers set to achieve the reduction targets include Peugeot Citroën, which has the lowest emissions rate, Toyota, Renault-Nissan and Volvo. The European automotive industry invests €45 billion in R&D annually, a large proportion of which is on fuel-efficiency technology. 

Thomas Göttle, head of global automotive at PA Consulting Group, said: “Car manufacturers face considerable challenges despite significant investments in hybrids and electric vehicles. The problem is, these vehicles will come too late to have an impact on the rapidly approaching 2021 deadline. The challenge is further complicated by next year’s changes to the testing regime.”

Next year a second stage of the emissions standard Euro 6 is being introduced, which will require vehicles to meet emissions limits in a variety of on-road conditions. However, some experts believe the changes to the testing regime do not go far enough. 

Brad Duncan, senior director of aerodynamics at simulation firm Exa, said: “There are still lots of loopholes, because you can’t measure performance on the road very accurately. You can measure overall fuel mileage or energy consumption but that number isn’t precise, so you end up back in the lab with the wind tunnel and dyno.

“There could still be a gap if your results don’t match the measurement on the road and you could have a problem with customer satisfaction or the final auditing.”

Duncan said vehicle manufacturers were increasingly turning to computer-aided engineering tools such as simulation, which are better able to model things like cross-wind and different model variants of cars. “All truck and car companies have a process history of build and test but there is a change happening. They can’t keep up with the increasing demands and are using CAE to help reduce costs,” he said.


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