By Massimo Fedeli
First published in Auto Retail Bulletin, May 2019
Car buyers were recently invited to rank a group of cars from the cleanest to the dirtiest, based on the actual NOx emissions produced in urban driving. The cleanest car was a full-size SUV and the dirtiest a small supermini. No-one placed the order of the six cars correctly, and it was the same result when journalists and policy makers carried out the exercise.
The problem with such widespread lack of awareness of the facts about vehicle emissions is that cars which can make a real difference to improving urban air quality, reducing CO2 emissions and reducing fuel consumption are being shunned by car buyers. The complicated truth that new diesel technology is clean and can now make a real improvement to air quality is still being overshadowed by the clouds of mistrust from Dieselgate. The result is bad for everyone as CO2 levels rise and air quality stagnates in our towns and cities.
In 2019, Allow Independent Road-testing (AIR), launched the AIR Index to inform and empower car buyers and city policy makers with the facts about vehicle emissions when making choices about car purchase and usage. A simple A-to-E colour-coded rating shows the difference between clean and dirty vehicles. The on-road tests are carried out on cars sourced independently from car makers and the results are published online and free of charge.
Following the launch of the AIR Index, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) asked AIR to test and rate vehicles from its Jaguar and Land Rover ranges. The results reveal that the new diesel engines fitted to Jaguar’s E-PACE and Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque are amongst the cleanest cars on sale of any type, not just vehicles within the SUV segment. Along with the Land Rover Discovery and Land Rover Discovery Sport, all four vehicles received an ‘A’ rating in the AIR Index for urban NOx emissions.
JLR now use the AIR Index ratings on the home pages of the respective websites for each model, providing car buyers with immediate visibility about the emissions for the car. A click through to the AIR Index website offers further information and showroom Point of Sales materials can also explain the results if required.
Rawdon Glover, Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director said,“The modern diesel engine certainly has a place in the current automotive landscape, and I’m confident that the AIR Index will provide the trusted, independent information essential to inform car buyers as they consider their next vehicle.”
AIR works with organisations and individuals committed to improving air quality by providing clear and simple information to help consumers make the right vehicle choices. Whether that choice is petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric it can now be made with facts rather than confused urban myths.
Massimo Fedeli, former Deputy Chairman of Fiat UK is the Co-founder of Allow Independent Road-testing (AIR), the not for profit company created to find practical solutions to the problem of urban air quality. AIR’s scientific advisory committee of leading air quality and vehicle emissions experts includes Dan Carder who led the team which uncovered Dieselgate.