Fact Sheet

What is being launched?

What is being launched?
  • AIR – Allow Independent Road-testing – has been launched and is a new global alliance promoting the voluntary adoption of an independent on-road vehicle emissions test and rating system
  • AIR is open to organisations and individuals seeking to ensure direct and immediate action to reduce the harmful effects of vehicle emissions on air quality and climate change in an accessible, transparent and accountable way
  • AIR is also the only global initiative that provides a prompt and cost-effective approach to the current diesel NOX emissions crisis

Why has AIR been created?

Why has AIR been created?
  • In the wake of Dieselgate, levels of public and political trust in regulated automotive testing are at an all-time low. Most of the processes used to measure vehicle emissions are now discredited, creating an information vacuum
  • Low levels of understanding and the lack of reliable and genuinely independent information is fueling a public policy debate that is seldom founded on factual and credible evidence
  • The global policy response has either been fragmented, disjointed, or is unlikely to yield immediate results. Current proposed actions could even negatively impact personal mobility, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions
  • In the absence of one international rating system, different policies between countries, regions and even cities have arisen, based on inconsistent data, leading to consumer confusion and industry uncertainty. A harmonised, accurate rating system is needed

 

  • In some cases, policy decisions may actually be exacerbating the problem. Two examples:
    • Systems in place in some major cities which use the Euro standard as the basis for vehicle ratings are penalising older cars, some of which have lower NOX emissions than newer models
    • By banning diesel vehicles to address NOX concerns, the impact may actually result in an increase in the levels of CO2 as consumers revert to petrol vehicles in the absence of battery or hybrid vehicles that meet consumer needs. This has happened in Europe already

How will AIR help reduce vehicle emissions?

How will AIR help reduce vehicle emissions?

FIRSTLY, AIR will make past and future results from independent testing of vehicle emissions freely available to everyone so they can make informed choices. Comparable and credible test results will:

  • Enable consumers to make the right choices in the cars they buy – new and used
  • Empower city policy makers and regulators to develop robust, fair and effective policies to help them improve air quality in the short and long term for the health of their communities
  • Enable carmakers to regain consumer trust by competing effectively to deliver cleaner cars with independent verification of their achievements

SECONDLY, AIR will also provide access to the test methodology to allow other third parties to conduct similar tests to the same standards around the world. AIR is currently applying for European standardisation (CEN) certification

How will AIR’s rating system make a difference?

How will AIR’s rating system make a difference?

The data from AIR’s independent on-the-road vehicle emissions test and rating system can be used to make an immediate and meaningful difference to urban air quality and reduce to greenhouse gas emissions. It is:

A. COMPARABLE: It is based on the most thorough assessment of on-road driving conditions enabling genuine comparability between vehicle models and makes, both new and old

B. ACCESSIBLE: This data is publicly available, transparent and free of charge

C. STANDARDISED: It will provide one standardised methodology and data set across all markets and regions providing a truly global rating system

D. INDEPENDENT: It is the most comprehensive, independently endorsed, data available in the market place

E. IMMEDIATE: The data is available now, today

Are there other similar rating systems currently available?

Are there other similar rating systems currently available?
  • This rating system is a global first. It is the only system that aims to provide standardised data consistently across the globe
  • AIR’s rating system will help reduce emissions more effectively while minimising the impact on individual mobility by using the most comprehensive and comparative data available now. Other alternatives are slow and complex and will take several years before they will have any meaningful impact

Doesn’t the EU’s recently introduced RDE testing already provide a solution to the emissions problem?

Doesn’t the EU’s recently introduced RDE testing already provide a solution to the emissions problem?
  • RDE is a significant achievement but it is not enough. It’s a first step in addressing Europe’s NOX crisis and longer-term emissions problems, but it will not provide an immediate solution
  • The European Commission is acting to strengthen RDE by creating a framework for independent surveillance of testing by third parties
  • While more stringent than the current laboratory test, the RDE:
    • Is not independent as the tests will still be performed directly or indirectly by manufacturers
    • Will not be fully standardised as each manufacturer can test to different cycles
    • Is not immediate as it will only apply to new models as they are introduced to the market from September 2017. Testing for all new vehicles will only be introduced in 2019
    • Further, a conformity factor (multiple of the regulatory limit) currently applies, allowing vehicles to exceed emissions limits and still be compliant

What does AIR want to happen?

What does AIR want to happen?

AIR is calling:

  • Governments, cities, academics, NGOs and other organisations committed to improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to join the alliance and to help drive the voluntary global adoption of existing independent testing and rating
  • Car manufacturers to adopt voluntarily the same approach to car emissions as they use for car safety
  • City policy makers to adopt voluntarily independent testing and rating as the basis for informed policy
  • Funding to help secure the long-term independence of the test results, the test methodology and their global application

How does AIR’s testing and rating system work?

How does AIR’s testing and rating system work?
  • The rating system is based on testing and data by Emissions Analytics (EA), an established independent leader in the measurement of on-road vehicle emissions with testing facilities in the UK, Germany and the United States
  • EA has provided free access to its test results from 2011 and is making the Emissions Analytics’ test methodology open to third parties via a European standardisation process to allow organisations beyond EA to conduct testing and contribute data
  • Tests to date have been conducted on over 1,500 different cars – including over 1,000 in Europe – providing accurate data that allows fair comparisons to be made between different models and makes for both new and old cars
  • The rating system uses emissions data from a four-hour on-road test using portable emissions measurement equipment (PEMS)
  • The rating system ranks car models into eight categories based on a consistent test – A being the cleanest, H being the worst emitter
  • The test results and rating system will show how quickly car makers can reduce emissions from new cars. This will also show how effective any retrofitting actions are, incentivising car makers to invest in improving the existing fleet

Who are the members of AIR?

Who are the members of AIR?
  • AIR has been established by the founder of Emissions Analytics, Nick Molden, and Massimo Fedeli of Fair Play Consulting, who has extensive experience in the automotive industry
  • AIR will expand its request for members following today’s public launch

How is the independence of the data being protected?

How is the independence of the data being protected?
  • AIR’s role will be to guarantee that the data and testing remain completely independent from automakers and regulators to ensure trusted disclosure and public scrutiny
  • AIR will follow strict corporate governance rules as set out in its mission statement
  • AIR will expand its request for funding following today’s public launch to ensure effective implementation, to maintain the independence of testing and data from carmakers and regulators and ensure AIR’s vision and clarity of purpose

Has the rating system been endorsed or independently verified?

Has the rating system been endorsed or independently verified?
  • AIR has assembled a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) comprising 8 leading European academics in the fields of emissions and air quality. These academics have confirmed that the EA testing and rating is robust enough for automakers and city policy makers to take immediate action to solve the NOx crisis
  • AIR’s SAC has also concluded that the EA test is suited to the AIR approach because all cars are subject to the same test and the data is immediately available for new cars and those already on the road

Has this type of model been used before?

Has this type of model been used before?
  • AIR’s inspiration is NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), an independent vehicle safety rating system developed in the US in the 1970s, which became the industry standard for vehicle safety in the EU and around the world
  • The programme held automakers accountable by publishing their safety performance, resulting in voluntary adoption of technologies that led to safer vehicles as a means to differentiate their models in the marketplace and gain competitive advantage
  • In time, this process incentivised car manufacturers to develop ever more innovative solutions to increase safety standards as a means to differentiate their models in the marketplace

Is the voluntary approach the right one?

Is the voluntary approach the right one?
  • The success of NCAP’s independent and voluntary approach is a tried and tested model for addressing car emissions
  • By adopting the AIR approach, automakers can make a difference now and demonstrate their desire to regain the trust of consumers and city policy makers
  • City policy makers can choose to use the data to make immediate changes to current policy and improve those policies as the data grows from further testing
  • A voluntary approach takes politics out of the issue and focuses instead on driving a solution to a global problem

What is the incentive for carmakers?

What is the incentive for carmakers?
  • Similar to what happened with NCAP, the AIR rating system will provide a framework that automakers can leverage commercially
  • Innovation will be incentivised, with car makers competing for customers and market share by creating ever cleaner models and showing how they will improve the existing fleet. The results, as seen previously with safety, are likely to far exceed current expectations and be achieved in the shortest possible time
  • AIR offers the most comprehensive approach to rebuilding consumer confidence through its independence and scientific rigour
  • If local emissions policies are not driven by realistic emissions information, the residual value of diesel cars in the short term – and petrol vehicles in the longer term – may come under further pressure, causing a negative financial impact on carmakers, fleet and leasing companies, as well as private owners
  • Understanding CO2 alongside NOx emissions could help avoid a market switch to higher CO2 emitting vehicles, which would make it harder for manufacturers to meet their fleet CO2 targets