New Euro 6 diesel engines mandatory from 1st September

Posted on September 2nd, 2015 by GEM Motoring Assist

NOx reductions 2001-2015

From 1st September 2015, all new cars and light commercial vehicles that are sold within Europe must comply with the latest exhaust emissions legislation.

Diesel cars have been targeted recently in the media, for their tendency to emit more NOx and particulates, compared to petrol versions. Even though we have highlighted before that the ‘blame-game’ is not entirely logical, the legislation is designed to lower pollutants that the UK’s MoT emission test does not measure. One change sees the permissible NOx limits reduce from 180mg/km to 80mg/km.

To achieve this considerable reduction, additional technology has been incorporated within diesel exhaust systems of new vehicles. Some of these are maintenance free. Yet, certain Euro 6-compliant diesel engines will require the owner to top-up a special tank with an additive (AdBlue ®), which has both cost and maintenance implications.

Thankfully, AdBlue® is both widely available and inexpensive, mainly because heavy goods vehicles have required it for several years. However, several spokesmen for the fleet sectors have voiced concerns that topping-up is a hidden expense that managers have not considered. While the per-car charge of filling the system tends not to be high (approximately £25 per 10,000 miles, depending on driving conditions), the sums will mount considerably for a company operating a fleet of several hundred vehicles, for example.

Currently, small and medium-sized businesses, plus public sector organisations, among others, are familiarising their staff with the technology. Allowing the system to run dry can cause either a break-down, or a power reduction. Alphabet has produced a useful guide that can be read here.

While the mandatory new Euro 6 legislation appears to be useful in reducing air pollution, which can only be lauded, it all seems to be rather pointless, when certain aftermarket companies advertise openly that they can deactivate AdBlue® systems that are installed to HGVs. As the technology is applied to cars, it is likely that certain business (especially those that disable existing diesel engine anti-pollution equipment, such as Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valves and Diesel Particulate Filters) will seek to deactivate the AdBlue® system as well.

While an offence would be caused by the driver, by using the modified vehicle on the road subsequently, many removal companies claim that they are not breaking the law, by carrying out the work. While I beg to differ, I can only hope that one such company is hauled through the UK criminal courts system very soon, to set a precedent that anti-pollution equipment is installed for reasons other than to make profits for unscrupulous businesses.