PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and General Motors’ Opel/Vauxhall unit are expanding their plans to publish real-world fuel economy figures to help win back consumer trust following Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal.
PSA says it will release real-world fuel consumption figures for 30 Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars before the summer.
Opel said it will publish more realistic fuel economy numbers starting with the Astra compact car starting in June.
Critics complain that fuel economy figures from laboratory tests that are listed by automakers on new cars sold in Europe are inaccurate because the vehicles use much more fuel during real-world driving.
Last month PSA released data for three of its cars -- the Peugeot 308 hatchback, Citroen Grand Picasso minivan and DS3 subcompact hatchback. The results showed that the cars’ fuel economy results were 30 percent to 40 percent worse than official figures achieved in the laboratory based on the EU-mandated New European Driving Test Cycle (NEDC).
PSA worked with the European environmental lobby group Transport & Environment (T&E) to devise a protocol to more accurately record how much fuel the cars use.
Under the PSA and T&E test, the Peugeot 308 used 5 liters per 100 kilometers (56 UK mpg, 47 U.S. mpg) compared with an NEDC cycle figure of 3.2 l/100km. All the cars were powered by PSA’s 118-hp, 1.6-liter diesel engine with a manual transmission.
PSA r&d chief Gilles Le Borgne said the difference between the real-world and lab test figures could be explained “one-third by driving style, one-third by the weight of the car and one-third by use of the equipment.”
He said cars presented for NEDC tests are much lighter than those bought in showrooms because they lack popular options. NEDC tests also don’t switch on equipment such as heaters or radios.
PSA’s real-world tests were done on public roads near Paris on different types of roads, with passenger and luggage loads, road gradients, and use of air-conditioning systems. The cars had a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) installed on the rear of the vehicle.
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares said his company is publishing real-world fuel consumption figures to offset the damage done to the car industry’s reputation by VW Group’s emissions test cheating.
“Like other OEMs, we were hurt in terms of credibility by the scandal that happened with our German competitor,” Tavares told journalists at the Geneva auto show last month. “We decided it was good to restore credibility with these measurements.”
VW engineers installed a “defeat” device in up to 11 million cars sold by VW Group brands worldwide to turn on engine pollution control systems during lab tests then switch them off on the road. VW’s emissions rigging was designed to cheat tests for harmful NOx emissions.
PSA and Opel are anticipating EU regulators’ plans to introduce the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) to replace NEDC tests in 2017. The WLTP tests reflect more accurately how people drive.
Opel will publish WLTP CO2 emissions figures alongside NEDC figures, starting with the Astra. Figures determined under the WLTP test cycle will be published for further models later this year, Opel said in a statement.
PSA says it will release further real-world fuel consumption information this year and tailpipe pollutant figures such as NOx next year.