The traditional definition of an emission test is about measuring the level of pollutants – including hydrocarbons, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen – in the exhaust of a vehicle. However, as tailpipe emissions decrease (more electric cars, better fuel consumption, etc.), more emphasis has been placed on the emissions generated by the vehicle’s materials and production.
The automotive industry is a major air pollution contributor, representing around 14% of global emissions, and thus one of the most regulated industries in the world. In this article, we’ll go over the two types of vehicle emissions testing, what they mean, and why both are equally important to reduce global emission levels.
The two types of automotive emissions testing
On-road emission testing
The European emission standards refer to a set of vehicle emission standards for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in Europe and EEA member states as well as the UK. They provide guidelines for how much emissions a specific type of vehicle is allowed to emit. Non-compliant vehicles cannot be sold in the EU.
On-road vehicle emissions testing is most commonly associated with measuring the pollutants of exhaust emissions, which traditionally includes exhaust measuring of:
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Total hydrocarbon (THC)
- Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC)
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Particulate matter (PM)
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
On-road automotive emissions testing is however not limited to only tailpipe exhausts. Car tires are another important emission indicator that is just as important to test. According to data from Emissions Analytics, tires produce almost 2000 more particle pollution than what is pumped out of the exhaust of modern cars.
Production emissions testing
The second type of emission test that is becoming increasingly more important is the testing of production and development of vehicles. As electric vehicles are becoming the new norm, on-road automotive emissions testing is slowly but surely becoming less relevant. Instead, more emphasis must be placed on the emissions generated by the vehicle’s materials and production – as well as the production of the energy used to power the EV.
The importance of automotive emissions testing
Performing a complete emission test is important not only for the manufacturers, to ensure the vehicles are compliant and can be sold on the market, but also for the world, to reduce the global emission levels.
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