BRUSSELS (Bloomberg) -- The European Commission wants EU governments to give feedback by Friday on tougher car-pollution tests and to vote on Oct. 28 on any new inspection regime.
The commission, the EU's executive arm, is drawing up proposals for tougher testing in the wake of Volkswagen Group's diesel-engine deception.
Penciled in for September 2017, the new checks will gauge emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides (NOx) under real driving conditions as well as in laboratories.
Representatives of the commission revealed the dates on Tuesday in Brussels during an exchange with European Parliament members who demanded details of the planned stricter testing system.
The commission officials declined to disclose further details of the proposal, citing confidential deliberations with EU governments that are responsible for deciding on the matter.
The EU, where more than half of cars sold are diesels, wants new models to be tested on the road because of evidence that real-driving emissions are 400 percent to 500 percent higher than in labs.
"We want to act fast," Gwen Cozigou, a director in the commission's enterprise-policy department, told the members of the EU Parliament’s environment committee.
The revelation last month of Volkswagen’s deception, which involved fitting diesel engines with software to cheat checks on NOx emissions, has left Europe rushing to address weaknesses in its regulatory system.
As part of the plan to test actual driving emissions as of September 2017, the commission intends to phase in over two further years enforcement of the current legal limit on NOx of 80 milligrams a kilometer, an EU official familiar with the matter said last week.
Between September 2017 and September 2019, real-driving emissions would be allowed under the commission proposal to exceed permissible discharges in laboratories by as much as 60 percent, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Germany is leading a group of nations arguing that a timetable to introduce real-driving emission tests is too strict for the car industry, according to an EU official familiar with the matter.
Germany, along with include Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, want a longer phase-in of the 80 milligram-a-kilometer limit for real-driving emissions, said the official.
However, today a paper reported that German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks is calling for tougher emissions regulations and tests, suggesting a split within the country's coalition government.
Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said emission limits needed to be "so exacting in future that diesel will really be cleaner," the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Hendricks said diesel engines could only have a future if the auto industry could prove that it could "make them really clean."
Diesel vehicles have been encouraged in some European markets because they produce less carbon dioxide -- a major greenhouse gas -- than gasoline vehicles. However, they produce higher levels of NOx, which are harmful to human health.
Hendricks said automakers should bear the costs of tougher tests. Municipalities should be allowed to ban vehicles if the level of NOx they emitted were too high, she said.
Reuters contributed to this report