Editor's comment

“The common denominator with VW and Mitsubishi is the all-consuming desire to meet official test cycle requirements. The sooner RDE and the WLTP are introduced the sooner trust can be restored”

While the spectre of the emissions scandal that engulfed Volkswagen at the end of last year hasn’t disappeared, it seems that there are likely to have been far more firms that have tried to doctor data in order to meet, or even exceed, expectations.

I know that sounds like an obvious statement to make, but it remains a cloud hanging over the industry that needs to dissipate quickly. That’s difficult to achieve while these problems continue, though.

VW is still sifting through reams of information and is in constant dialogue with legislators, individual market bodies and consumers. And, while that is ongoing, Mitsubishi recently admitted that it too had been less than honest about some of its vehicles’ efficiency figures.

VW and Mitsubishi’s approaches to manipulating the figures were very different, and have been written about at some length both in the pages of this magazine and on our website, but the end result is the same. It means a loss of trust in the industry – and that’s bad.
There are hundreds of thousands of engineers working in the automotive sector. Most work long hours and are dedicated to meeting every target that is set for them, both by their managers and by external bodies.

So their hard work is undermined every time a story similar to the VW debacle, or the idiocy of the Mitsubishi scandal,comes to light.

The industry isn’t inherently bad, and there is a lot of good work going on to make the vehicles we drive better – both more efficient and safer – but it’s tarnished by events that bring negative press coverage. The common denominator with VW and Mitsubishi is the all-consuming desire to meet official test cycle requirements.

We’ve known for some time that the NEDC in Europe is outdated and worthless, and the story is similar for tests conducted in other markets. The sooner RDE and the WLTP are introduced the sooner trust can be restored.

The two new tests won’t answer every question, but they will bring emissions and fuel efficiency figures closer to what is achieved on public roads.

We have to remember, and consumers need to be aware, that any test will only be representative, and what comes out of a vehicle’s tailpipe is dependent on so many different factors, not least what the driver is doing with the throttle. But RDE and WLTP will bring the official tests and real-world driving closer together.

That’s good, because it will hopefully stop firms from even considering taking the same road as VW and Mitsubishi.

At this year’s Vienna Motor Symposium, 1,100 attendees sat through papers and presentations on the latest developments in powertrain and drivetrain design, with representatives from every major market highlighting the work that is being done to make vehicles better.

It is these stories that need to be making the news every day, not what has been on our screens and in print publications recently.

The cloud of falsifying vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency data is unfortunately going to be hanging over us for some time to come but, once it begins to clear, I hope it doesn’t come back. And with the changes due to take place, and the positive work being done, it needn’t.


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