Get Real testing campaign: Why new laboratory tests will do little to improve real-world fuel economy

The biggest failure of Europe’s actions to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars has been the persistent inability to deliver emission reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the NEDC laboratory test procedure have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just 13%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 8% in 2000 to 39% in 2017. Meanwhile, the old NEDC test procedure was replaced with the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which has been in force for all new cars sold in the EU since September 2018, with a transitional period until 2021 when both tests can be used.

In order to understand what effect the WLTP test will have on new cars’ real-world CO2 performance and fuel consumption, Transport & Environment (T&E) together with German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) launched the ‘Get Real’ project in 2016 to raise consumers’ awareness about the gap between advertised and real-world fuel consumption of cars and to identify solutions to reduce the gap. As part of this project, T&E commissioned Emisia, an independent laboratory, to test three different WLTP-approved vehicles: a petrol Opel Adam I (with an indirect injection system), a petrol Ford Fiesta VII (with a direct injection system) and a diesel Honda Civic X.